Travel And Leisure Booking Startup Klook Raises US$200M Funding
Travel and leisure booking platform Klook announced today (January 26) that it has raised additional funding of US $ 200 million for its Series E.
The tour was led by Aspex Management, an Asia-Pacific focused investment fund.
Some existing investors including Sequoia Capital China, Softbank Vision Fund 1, Matrix Partners China and Boyu Capital have also joined this round, in addition to new investors.
Klook said the new capital will be used to accelerate the development of SaaS solutions and digital transformation for its merchants. These tools will allow any merchant to create, manage and grow their business with Klook.
Today, Klook’s merchant SaaS solutions are fueling millions of bookings for more than 2,500 merchants around the world.
The doubling of its SaaS solutions will allow even more merchants who have had a difficult year to transform and accelerate their business by easily creating an online storefront powered by Klook.
This is taken care of by a backend engine that handles ticketing, distribution, inventory management, marketing and more.
Klook said he saw merchants in these markets keen to digitize their business. At the height of the pandemic, it integrated 150% more activities compared to the same period in 2019.
“We are striving to reinvent the next digital leap for the experiences industry that has traditionally been fragmented with offline practices or legacy systems that don’t really respond to the realities of a post-COVID world,” said Eric Gnock Fah , COO and co-founder of Klook.
“From day one, Klook has worked closely with our merchants, large and small, to identify common issues that we can solve together. With this new funding, we have additional ammunition to accelerate our technological innovation, and truly transform and strengthen this space for future growth.
Hermes Li, CIO and founder of Aspex Management, believes the transition to digital reservation will only accelerate after COVID-19.
“Klook’s ability to reinvent itself as a one-stop-shop for experiences and services across the region puts it in a privileged position to capitalize on this trend,” he added.
How Klook Adapted to COVID-19
In April of last year, Klook announced measures such as layoffs to cut costs amid the pandemic.
Additionally, the company’s three co-founders told TTG Asia that they would forgo their pay until the Covid-19 crisis erupted. His management team also agreed to voluntary pay cuts and the company implemented a temporarily reduced work week.
Klook co-founder and CEO Ethan Lin said at the time their business had been severely affected by travel restrictions, hence these “painful decisions” had to be made for them to survive and recover.
However, over the past year, Klook has quickly redefined its strategic priorities to tackle the impact of COVID-19 on the business.
The company has focused on two main areas: the digitization of the experience booking industries and the launch of new verticals such as travel and car rental.
In the second half of 2020, Klook piloted a series of tools. The first is a contact tracing system which has been deployed at local partner attractions in the Philippines.
It has also developed an Attractions Plus module that allows customers at attractions and larger establishments to access content such as a park map, what to eat and recommended routes in one app.
It also introduced an interactive live mobile feature called Klook Live !. The first results observed four times the average increase in conversion rates.
Key markets where COVID-19 restrictions have eased, such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, have seen increased spending on local experiences, according to Klook, with bookings hitting near pre-COVID levels as locals begin to explore the country.
In September last year, Klook signed a S $ 2 million partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to encourage locals to explore and experience a “different side of Singapore.”
The partnership is part of Singapore’s $ 45 million SingaporeRediscovers campaign, which aims to promote local tourism and lifestyle offerings.
Due to the lack of overseas travel, Singapore has seen a significant drop in tourism income. This is why Singaporeans are encouraged to take a local vacation, dubbed “Singapore Vacation”, to boost local business and economy.
At the regional level, Klook has also established partnerships with other tourism boards such as the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the National Tourism Organization of Japan, the Korea Tourism Organization and the Tourism Authority of Japan. Thailand to help diversify supply and increase demand domestically.
As domestic tourism becomes ubiquitous and international travel gradually returns, Lin is confident that the new capital will help them go “from defense to offensive.”
Despite a difficult year 2020, we have shown our courage, turning challenges into growth opportunities with agility and constant innovation.
We have observed over the past year that consumers have a pent-up desire to explore and have fun, despite the disruption of international travel. Instead, they look inward – exploring new and unique experiences right in their backyard.
– Ethan Lin, CEO and co-founder of Klook
Featured Image Credit: Klook
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