Klook kickstarts multi-stage recovery, unveils virtual interactive experiences

Klook has launched a new home-based experiences initiative titled "Klook Home", which consists of a series of virtual interactive experiences, home-based learning modules and do-it-yourself (DIY) experiences to help consumers stay connected during this period. 

The virtual interactive experiences (VIE) will bring users across continents for exclusive interactive tours of famous landmarks such as Casa Batllo in Barcelona and even popular filming locations like the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London. All sessions are hosted live and participants will also have a chance to speak directly with expert guides or animal handlers from attractions all around the world. The VIEs will be taking place every week, and will be made available free for all.

Besides the VIEs, Klook is also selling DIY home kits, ranging from making tote bags and mask covers to whipping up Vietnamese family dishes. The DIY home kits will be delivered straight to consumers, with all the materials provided. Additionally, Klook is offering online classes and workshops, where consumers can learn song-writing, acting, yoga, and wine tasting, among other classes.

The Klook Home initiative is the first phase of its global multi-stage recovery approach and has been rolled out across 14 markets, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. The debut signals the company's commitment to kickstart recovery and tackle the new normal of travel, combating the impact of COVID-19 in the travel industry. Starting with local experiences (home-based experiences; weekend things-to-do within the city; and domestic travel experiences), Klook aims to capture local demand first, followed by offerings based on intra-regional travel corridors, as global market conditions gradually improve and travel restrictions ease. The company said its multi-stage recovery efforts will be rolled out based on the unique needs and conditions of the markets, as countries across the globe are at varying stages of recovery. 

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In a statement to Marketing, Marcus Yong, vice president of marketing, APAC, Klook, said it will be focusing on digital and mobile-first channels to promote the initiative. "During this period, one guiding principle for us is to be prudent on expenditure, while making owned channels work harder especially on social media and content," Yong said, adding that it tries to do more storytelling and provide useful content to users in markets where its products are not well-known. Yong also said Klook will continue to experiment with new channels such as live-streaming to better engage its users.

Besides increasing engagement with its users, Yong said Klook Home also provides support for merchants on its platform. Through Klook Home, merchants can expand their offerings and open new revenue streams. Merchants can also use technology to digitise their offerings and bridge physical boundaries between them and consumers, as well as showcase their products to a global audience. 

The Klook Home initiative comes as Klook saw about 60% of the total number of searches across APAC and Europe are related to domestic experiences, which showed that local interest for domestic experiences is on the rise. Klook Home will allow markets with stay-home regulations such as Singapore and the Philippines to tap into home-based activities. Meanwhile, for markets that have eased stay-home orders such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, users can leverage Klook's list of local activities within the city or other cities. Klook's domestic offerings include weekend city things-to-do such as local attractions, movie tickets, and underexplored off-the-beaten-path activities. 

Eric Gnock Fah, chief operating officer and co-founder of Klook, said COVID-19 has inevitably altered the future of travel, and with global travel being some time away from now, the company is seizing every opportunity, starting with local experiences. "What we do now will define how we navigate the future of travel," he added.

Klook has been diversifying its services since the COVID-19 situation hit. Earlier this year, the travel company expanded its services to provide food delivery services on its app in various markets include Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. It also launched its private car rental page earlier in May, which enables users who prefer to explore the open road in small groups to better access, browse, and book their own private cars.

Separately, the company rolled out Klook Partners Hub, a resource center to provide merchants with updates from the travel industry and Klook's platform. It is also launching Klook Academy, an initiative to help merchants optimise their travel products and services better in the new normal of travel. Klook Academy is said to offer workshops and webinars touching on a wide range of topics that can help businesses, ranging from marketing to operational excellence.

Last month, Klook streamlined its workforce globally either through temporary leave or headcount reduction. In a statement to Marketing then, CEO and co-founder Ethan Lin said the streamlining would impact 10% to 20% of its headcount for most functions. Shortly after, Klook Malaysia's former community team lead, marketing, Audrey Mah, created a Google spreadsheet containing the names of employees who have been laid off, to help former Klook employees in Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Hong Kong, and other countries find employment opportunities more easily.

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