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We Made It Through 2020! This Is Our Year In Review

Phew, we made it. It has been a difficult year for the travel industry. But if there's one thing we learned as a growing startup, it's this: there will never be a "perfect" moment to pursue your goals. You'll always find IFs and BUTs, and there will be plenty of challenges along the way. All you can do is stay agile, overcoming the obstacles and taking advantage of new opportunities. 

2020 was a curveball of a year but we stayed true to our goal of connecting people with joyful experiences. It was tough, there was heartbreak, plans didn't always come through. But at the end of it, we're proud of the team for showing up and stepping up to the challenge, and we're proud of what we achieved together. Let’s look back at how this year played out, shall we?

 

January 

 

2019 was a blast

 

2019 was a big year for us. We celebrated our 5th birthday, opened more offices worldwide, expanded to new markets. 

 

 

Needless to say, we started the year on a high. We just uncovered a big business opportunity in solo travel so we get to work curating new experiences geared for independent travelers. We’re excited to empower more people to take the leap and travel alone in 2020.

 

February

 

Smiling cause we didn't know how many hours we'd spend on Zoom this year...

 

The beginning of the rest of 2020 as we know it. Our employees in Hong Kong and Shenzhen start working from home. Remote work is a new topic for many companies and Cary Shek, Vice President of People & Culture at Klook, gives an interview for TIME magazine to talk about how we handled it. 

 

March 

The travel industry comes to a near-complete standstill. No one knows how long this will last, but what we do know is that we will come out stronger if we work together. We brainstorm how we can best support our merchant partners and work with the travel industry to weather this storm together. At the same time, we have to act fast to support our customers as borders close at short notice and regulations change minute by minute. 

 

April 

 

Sharing is caring, especially in COVID-19 times

 

Half of the world's population is under lockdown. For our merchant partners, many of whom depend on tourism for their livelihood, this is devastating. We launch Klook Partners Hub to gather up resources, information and advice to help them navigate this difficult chapter in travel industry history. 

 

May 

 

Successful meal donation delivery in Malaysia

 

Klookers cannot sit idly when others are in need. Having strong and positive relationships with business partners on the ground makes it possible to run successful meal donation campaigns across several markets. We launch local campaigns to provide free meals to migrant workers in Singapore and healthcare professionals in Malaysia and Thailand. 

 

We toured the world with virtual travel experiences 

 

We set out to continue bringing our customers the joy of discovery... from the safety of their homes. With the speed of light, we develop and launch Klook Home, our very first home-based experiences product that offers virtual experiences and DIY kits sent straight to our customers’ doors. One of the most popular products on Klook Home is DIY bubble tea kit (who knew making homemade boba took so much time?!).

 

June 

 

Our UK team challenged themselves to "travel" from home

 

About 60% of our in-app searches in Asia Pacific and Europe are related to domestic experiences. We curate new experiences that allow people to explore their backyards and help them scratch that wanderlust itch safely. We optimize our platform for a better user experience when searching for domestic travel and leisure products.

 

July 

 

Summer 2020 will forever be remembered as the summer of staycations

 

BINGO. Staycation is the new vacation! Our staycation packages are seeing traction across many markets as the weather gets hot and borders remain closed. "I went on a staycation" becomes a recurring theme in watercooler talk around Klook offices and online.

We have a much better grasp on how travel businesses can pivot during this pandemic and we're eager to share our learnings. We invite industry experts to share insights and advice with our merchant partners during Klook Academy webinars. 

 

August 

 

Proud team after making our first flight to nowhere reality!

 

Pandemic or not, the sky is the only limit to our creativity. Literally. We launch “flight to nowhere”, our remedy to Taiwan’s ban on international travel. Passengers on this special flight enjoy views of the coastline and a Michelin-starred in-flight meal before touchdown at the same airport they departed from. The idea takes off — the flight was fully booked in a matter of seconds.

We team up with Grab to offer domestic experiences via the Grab app in SEA. In fact, it’s been a great year for partnerships at Klook as we work closely with other brands and tourism boards to innovate and bring value to customers.

 

September 

 

Klook birthday is a great excuse for some quality throwbacks

 

We celebrate our 6th birthday (time flies!) with stories from first employees and hit 100,000 followers on LinkedIn. Thank you for following along on our journey!

 

Celebrating our birthday with Klook Live! live stream in Hong Kong

 

Klook goes live! We push boundaries yet again by rolling out Klook Live!, a livestream in-app feature — customers in five markets can now see us goofing around and score some excellent deals in the process. Our merchant partners are excited about livestreaming's potential and viewers love the real-time human interaction when they have questions or concerns about products.

 

October 

 

Our beautiful rainbow float at Taiwan Pride 2020

 

How is this year not over yet? We take a much needed moment for our mental health during Mental Health Day, celebrate our Customer Heroes for Customer Service Week and join Taiwan Pride to show our pride in each and every Klooker's authentic self.

 

November 

 

Klookers were thankful for extra family time this year

 

We have high hopes for the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble but we're quickly reminded it's 2020 after all when the travel bubble bursts. Flight to nowhere, anyone?

Despite the rollercoaster year, our team finds a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. And we’re pretty excited to become an authorized booking partner for the Singapore Tourism Board's SingapoRediscovers Vouchers (SRV) scheme which encourages Singaporeans to discover the Garden City. 

 

December 

 

Ending the year on an innovative high with the first Klook Hackathon

 

That feeling we've had since March? There's a word for it now! Our research with YouGov uncovers a travel withdrawal syndrome we call the Wonderlost Syndrome. The symptoms sound familiar...

We wrap up a year of innovation at Klook. We had to get creative, stay agile and pivot faster than ever. We added thousands of new products to our platform, made impactful partnerships with brands and tourism boards, and celebrated big product launches. None of which would have been possible without our outstanding Klook team.  2021, we're ready for you!

 

 

PS. This article was originally published in December. Since then, we've gotten some great news: Klook closed additional funding round raising $200 million. Agility for the win! 

 

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