Klook just celebrated its 7th birthday last week. Many of my colleagues posted about things they were grateful or inspired by, and it was heartwarming to know how we're all walking this collective PATH together as one team and scaling new growth frontiers.
During the course of several interviews recently (yes, we are hiring for multiple roles: check it out here), I noticed a trend in terms of questions candidates were asking me.
“What keeps you going?”
“Why join a travel company in times like this?”
“Why are you so confident that travel will recover soon?”
Personally, I’ve never felt that things would get easier. Contrary to that, it’s more of how we get stronger during times of adversity which places us in a better position to run and recover faster when momentum picks up again. One train of thought which I always hold close to heart - when times are good and tailwinds are behind us all, it’s easy to hop on any bandwagon and say you’re part of a rocketship.
However, when times are shaky and we have our backs against the ropes, it is what we do that truly defines us; we aren’t just riding the rocketship, we’re playing an integral part in building it. Growth is a mindset, not a construct, and strength doesn’t come from winning, but how we grow better with setbacks.
Would travel resume? Sure it will. Would it be the same as it was before? Probably not. More importantly, what are we doing differently to prepare ourselves for the “great change” ahead?
Here are some things that I am looking forward to doing more with this team in the years to come:
Putting Joy at the heart of everything we do
Here at Klook, we’re all about unlocking memorable and quality experiences for our customers. We spent the last few months really “unboxing” elements of the Klook brand and poured hours into internal workshops and external focus groups to unravel what makes us different and why customers love us. Moving forward, we want to combine the art with the science - using data and experimentation to reinforce our brand values and start tracking growth in new areas that we’re incredibly excited about. Stay tuned for more 😉
Telling stories and engaging better with our customers
For those that have used us in the past year or so, you would notice new features launched that we have accumulated a wealth of learnings for. From launching our very livestream function, Klook Live!, where we unveil new merchant offerings and deals (think secret staycation releases and durian boat parties), to gamification programs such as Klook Koins and Mini Group Buying (coming soon), hidden hotel deals via FB messenger chatbots... we’re blurring the lines between travel, leisure, and e-commerce whilst having an absolute blast with our customers!
Accelerating digitisation and distribution in the tours & activities space
In 2019/20, the tours, activities, and attractions space had an estimated value of US$185-250 billion. Sales were (still) mostly offline with less than 20% coming via online channels. Since the pandemic hit, our supply and planning teams have been busy accelerating our suite of digital SaaS solutions, empowering merchants and partners with new tools to manage, market, and be part of an interconnected Klook ecosystem.
In fact, we just went live a few weeks ago on Google’s Things To Do as one of their first partners in the Asia Pacific. Mapping thousands of activities and allowing them to be updated and booked in real-time (with access to all our language and payment options) for our travel operators was both frenetic and exciting. In 1H alone, we saw close to a 200% increase in sign-ups from operators across APAC, trusting us as their official connectivity partner.
Strengthen existing relationships and make new friends
Our travel industry has undoubtedly been battered by the pandemic but the resiliency shown by the community has truly surprised me. There is strength in unity and we’ve been privileged to have grown our relationship with so many - from the SingapoRediscovers Vouchers with STB, to the Dine and Discover program in New South Wales, to forming a strategic partnership with Seera Group to drive the digital transformation of Saudi tourism. There’s so much more in the pipeline and I’m genuinely excited on how together, as an industry, we are collectively taking charge to walk this travel 2.0 path together.
Now imagine the above, combined with our consumer marketing capabilities and cross-border expertise. The possibilities are endless. The question is - where do we want to be to lead that change?
Ready to grow with us?
Posted by Marcus Yong, Vice President - Global Marketing, Strategy & Planning
Marcus lives to learn and spends his spare time exploring museums and onsen towns in Japan. He also recently got a new puppy named Luke (after a certain Jedi).