There’s been a lot of talk about partnerships in the travel industry this year. Big or small, tourism businesses agree it’s better to team up than compete when hard times strike. But how do these partnerships actually come about? What happens behind the closed doors?
We talk to three Klookers who can shed a little light on what goes into making a partnership and how their team contributes to our impactful collaborations.
Fu Wei Fong
Senior Manager, DMO Partnership
“Partnerships are crucial, and remain core to our business, all the more so during these times” says Fu Wei Fong, Senior Manager, DMO Partnership. “We are only as strong as our partners and we remain committed to enabling our partners to succeed. Hence, any partnership that puts Klook at the forefront of tourism means that we can better support our merchant partners through this time and stay top of mind in customers.”
Luckily, our DMO Partnership team has been nailing it, having obtained numerous partnerships including the recent S$2m partnership with Singapore Tourism Board. But first, what is DMO? What kind of partnerships are we talking about here?
DMO, or destination marketing organization, develops a travel destination and markets it to visitors. So obviously, it’s a natural match for partnerships with a company like ours.
Klook teamed up with Singapore Tourism Board to encourage locals to discover a different side of the island city.
“In any partnership, you have to find that win-win. When it comes to Klook and DMOs, we have similar objectives. Tourism boards develop and market the destination to visitors. At Klook, we develop and bring these experiences onboard our platform and market these experiences to travelers,” explains Fu Wei. “At the end of the day, our shared goal with tourism boards is for travelers to discover and experience what the destination has to offer.”
While the DMO Partnership team plays a key role in the process, developing partnerships with tourism boards and ensuring we deliver on our promises is by no means a one-team job. “A partnership like the one with Singapore Tourism Board requires a coordinated effort across multiple teams. Among others, Sales & Business Development worked with merchants to develop new products and experiences that appeal to the domestic traveler, the Marketing team was essential in putting the campaign proposal together, the Legal team assisted with the partnership terms and the Global Communications team ensured that we started off on a high with a strong press release. The DMO team also ensured that all the pieces came together synergistically for an impactful and meaningful partnership.”
Corporate Development Senior Associate
“As the saying goes ‘two heads are better than one’, and indeed I do see more collaboration and strategic partnerships between companies recently. Rather than attempting to take on a market yourself, you could propel the growth of your company by forming a strategic partnership with a complementary company,” says HuiMin Pang, Corporate Development Senior Associate.
“Now, more so than ever, the travel industry has been hard hit by the pandemic and I believe the way forward would be for us to get creative to find solutions that work, even if it means exploring partnerships that were previously not considered to be ideal.”
A collaborative mindset comes in handy within our own organization too. A big partnership ropes in many different teams, from Marketing to Technology to Customer Experience. It’s HuiMin’s team role to coordinate not just with the partner but also with our internal stakeholders and to align expectations on both sides.
“Fortunately, we have a very collaborative mindset at Klook,” she says. “Even when lines are blurred sometimes as to roles and responsibilities or when I am unsure which department a certain task falls under, people here are very willing to guide me and to brainstorm together: ‘you need to look out for this’, ‘do you know this other team is working on that?’ and so on.”
This comes in especially handy because Corporate Development deals with uncharted territories, always looking for and testing new directions for the business. There is rarely a blueprint for this type of work.
“While things may get a little vague sometimes, I truly enjoy the nature of work which allows me to work with people from different teams across regions. It’s definitely eye-opening and enriching to be able to understand first-hand the considerations that each department has.”
Senior Partner Integration Manager
There’s more to partnerships than serious talks in boardrooms. As a tech startup, we want to push boundaries, build something new, find unique solutions for users. Our Partner Integration team helps us reinvent partnerships in the digital age.
As a Senior Partner Integration Manager, Jones Chan serves as a bridge between the Technology & Engineering team and other teams at Klook. “When we get a request, it’s our role to understand exactly what the user needs and what product we want to build, and then translate that into a concrete roadmap for our tech team,” he explains.
It may sound like the usual project manager role but there’s a twist. “In integration management, it’s a little different. We don't just work with our internal tech team, we also collaborate with the external tech teams of our partners. We need to gain a deep understanding of how the other system works and what the expectations are.”
Case in point: the recent partnership with Grab which produced a new Attractions tile in the Grab app. The new feature allows users in select regions to browse through Klook inventory right in the Grab app and pay for Klook activities with GrabPay. As you can imagine, that’s a lot of moving parts on both sides!
Attractions on Klook are now bookable via the Grab app.
Working with completely different tech ecosystems each time is the biggest challenge for Jones. And the best thing about his role? “Also that,” he laughs. “I get to talk to different partners every day and understand different business models: how traditional travel business works, how an OTA works, how a super app works. They all work in their own specific way but at the end of the day, we have a shared vision for the partnership.”
A new adventure is waiting for you at Klook!
Posted by Klook Careers