2021 was a pretty good year for us, despite the mixed progress we’ve seen with the travel industry. Comparing 2021 to a rollercoaster ride is one way of looking at it - there were ups with increased global vaccine rates, downs with the virus variants, and ups again with special travel lanes opening.
As we approach the end, we’re proud of what we’ve achieved together. The journey we’re on together is as valuable as the final destination, filled with lessons to take us forward in 2022. So before the new year approaches, let's look back at the top 3 lessons we’ve gained from 2021, shall we?
The new normal is ours to explore and conquer
Klook started January 2021 with a bang by raising US$200 million in our Series E funding. No one knew what lay ahead, but this gave Klookers a boost of confidence and hope. It proved to us that investors believed in travel, they believed in the industry, and they believed in us.
Klookers celebrating with a virtual toast after our Series E funding in January 2021
And we were right to be confident. In February, overall COVID-19 cases slowed down with the roll-out of vaccines in many countries. Worldwide, everyone had adapted to new ways of living, and societies had learned how to adapt to the pandemic better.
We learnt that this was a new world we’re operating in, and it was ours to explore. In 2020, we experimented to find the perfect formula to conquer domestic travel and explore new ventures like staycations and Klook Live! among other things. We had established a recipe to bring relevant and unique local products to customers in their own backyard.
In 2021 we learnt that the fastest movers will emerge winners. We weren’t alone in this battle, so we partnered with some of the best players from the travel industry and beyond. From the South Korean and Thai tourism boards, the Australian government, entertainment giant Merlin, fintech institutions like Atome, to insurance providers like ZA Tech - these partnerships helped us reach more users and helped uplift players big and small, driving much needed growth in the industry as a whole.
2021 was a big year for partnerships in the travel industry, and we helped drive many of them!
Opportunity comes to those who are prepared
There is nothing predictable about operating in a pandemic. As the world celebrated a rise in vaccination rates, a new Delta variant sneaked its way into communities, spiking case numbers worldwide in mid-2021.
Resilience was a key mindset that helped us beat unpredictability. 💪While we forged new paths ahead, it was important that we were mentally and operationally prepared to keep calm and carry on. Thanks to our experimentation in 2020, we were better prepared to deal with variants and still produce numbers with our exclusive staycation packages, local experiences, and wellness products.
Klook conquered the staycation market by offering unique products and experiences, like this Garfield getaway in Singapore
Opportunities come to those who are well prepared - just months after the peak of the Delta variant, we saw countries start to open their borders again for tourism with Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs). We know travel is not as straightforward as before, so we sent one of our Klookers to experience the first VTL flight to South Korea from Singapore in November! We also saw the rise in international product purchase, which indicates that international travel is recovering. It's an encouraging sign!
The future remains unpredictable, new challenges may arise outside of the pandemic, but 2021 has proven that Klookers are a resilient bunch who are prepared for anything!
Our impact goes beyond travel
The global shutdown in the last 2 years has taught us that no man/woman is an island - we are all part of the human race and everything we do will have an effect on others. Our impact goes beyond travel, and we have a real opportunity to create and pass on joy to our customers, our merchants, our society, and to each other.
We continued our Klook Cares efforts across the region. In Singapore we encouraged locals to donate their SingapoRediscover vouchers to low-income households, rough sleepers and migrant workers. In New South Wales, Australia, our teams helped revive and digitalize wine tourism in Hunter Valley with exclusive wine tasting tours.
We have a real opportunity to create joy and impact through travel with our Klook Cares efforts region-wide
In April, we launched PATH - our core beliefs of Push boundaries, Ask for and give feedback, Take Ownership and Help each other. PATH forms the foundation of Klook’s culture, and drives the actions and interactions of Klookers on a daily basis. We didn’t come up with PATH from scratch - hundreds of Klookers contributed through focus groups and feedback to let us know what brings them joy in the workplace.
But this is only the beginning. After all, great company culture takes active and constant work to build and maintain. From interns to leaders, we want to build an environment where Klookers are proud to say they belong to, and feel they are contributing to.
Our values crystallized in the form of PATH in 2021
We also learnt that rest is important in order to reach greater heights. In October, we declared it “Wellness Month” at Klook - because we believe we need to be joyful ourselves in order to create joy for others. We took our wellness efforts up a notch through regular mindfulness sessions, global wellness webinars, and local care days and packages. We recognized and thanked each other through Klook Salutes, and learnt to be grateful for all that we have achieved together.
To sum up, if 2020 was about innovation and discovery, 2021 was definitely a year of growth for all of us here at Klook. We grew the business by growing our collective resilience, and we’re excited to see what more opportunities 2022 has in store for us!
Ready to take on 2022 with Klook?
Posted by Klook Careers