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Klook doubles down on digitisation efforts and workforce growth

Travel and booking platform Klook will be banking on innovating and elevating the digitisation of in-destination supply by optimising its operational procedures such as from booking and redemption to post-experience reviews. It also aims to equip individual operators with connectivity to AI-powered voice assistants including developer platform, Actions on Google, as it turns five.

Since launching in 2014, Klook offers localised services in nine languages and has multiple payment methods on its website and app. Currently, the platform plans to further its ability to provide customised “things-to-do” recommendations for travellers based on their search and booking behaviours.

In addition to its current engineering hub in Shenzhen, China, Klook will expand its innovation capabilities to Singapore, with a focus on adopting connectivity integration and data science. Drawing from the pool of tech talents in Southeast Asia, this dual-hub looks to allow Klook to glean more behavioural insights through data analytics to improve the experience for both customers and merchants.

According to Klook, it will surpass 60 million annual trip bookings this year and will be expanding its current workforce from 1,200 to over 2,500 in over 30 offices by the end of 2020. The travel agency also aims to deepen its roots in Asia Pacific and accelerate growth for European markets.

Ethan Lin, Klook CEO and co-founder said when the business started five years ago, the team faced a major roadblock due to the fragmentation of in-destination travel services. However, he added that Klook has overcome the challenge and also transformed the sector in the process through innovative digital solutions, collaboration with local tourism authorities, championing talents who share its vision, and empowering operators for a healthier and more diverse local tourism ecosystem.

Meanwhile, Eric Gnock Fah, COO and co-founder of Klook said both the Asia Pacific and Europe regions are diverse and inter-connected, and that the agency will be adopting a hyper-localised go-to-market strategy in Asia. “As the pioneer of applying mobile-first technology to the in-destination sector, we hope to replicate our strong growth in Asia Pacific and empower European travellers to discover, book and experience the best things to do anywhere, anytime,” he added.

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Apart from Asia Pacific and Europe markets, Klook has also explored the transit sector in Japan. The travel agency introduced a standalone rail interface with mobile-friendly features, and aims to launch point-to-point train tickets and sought-after passes for the major rail networks. Klook has also collaborated with local Japanese operators to increase its roster of attractions and things to do outside of the Tokyo metropolitan area by 600% since 2016, a media statement read.

In April this year, Klook raised US$225 million in Series D+ funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund. With this funding, the company’s total Series D round amounts to US$425 million. According to Klook, this funding will be used to scale its operations into new geographies and continue to expand in its existing Asian markets. The company also looks to increase its investments in Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Olympics and expand into additional Japanese cities to better serve both inbound and outbound visitors.

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