As Klook celebrates its ninth anniversary, the platform for experiences and travel services recorded its strongest performance to date, despite the challenges of a travel industry recovering from the pandemic. With flight capacity still below pre-pandemic levels, Klook has achieved threefold growth compared to 2019, reaching an annualised gross booking value of $3 billion.
Adopting AI on a deeper level
During ‘Klook’s 9th Birthday’ press conference held in Bangkok, COO and co-founder, Eric Gnock Fah announced the launch of Klook’s new generative AI chatbot and trip planner called K.AI (Klook AI), a feature that the company has been beta testing on its app for some time now. K.AI will be fully integrated into the Things To Do activity page across eight different languages, catering to Klook’s various markets in the APAC region.
It’s not the first time Klook has used AI in the last few months to chart new waters. During its recent sale of tiered packages for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour, coming to Singapore in March 2024, the platform employed Artificial Intelligence to power its fraud prevention mechanism. On further AI adoption, Eric told WiT, “We’re using predictive AI for recommendations. We’re also focusing on fraud prevention and marketing – to be more efficient where we spend marketing dollars.”
Gnock Fah continued, “Generative AI will help us with customer service and translation – the previous translation technology doesn’t use context, it just translates word for word. Translation will allow us to scale faster and better on that front. We also have a lot of merchants that may not be fluent in English. So, when they join us, how do we get them to generate content for us that’s more appealing.”
For now, K.AI is a part of the pre-booking stage of a customer’s journey, something that Klook hopes to expand in the future. “What we have yet to do is provide this chatbot to the post-booking customer experience – hey, I want to cancel… hey, can you change my booking to the next day. That relates to our merchants and there’s a lot of operational things we’ll have to bring before we connect the chatbot into the post-booking experience.”
Travellers showing resilience in record year
Ethan Lin, CEO and co-founder of Klook, said, “2023 is proving to be a record year of Travelsilience, where travel and resilience intersect. While we are in the early stages of travel recovery in Asia Pacific with persisting constraints in flight capacities, we’ve achieved astounding growth. Travellers are showcasing their resilience, and our business has surged threefold, primarily driven by a remarkable increase in spending, soaring by over 50% on our platform.
“This growth is underpinned by the diverse variety of additional products and services we’ve introduced, ranging from rail and car rentals to staycations and even more unique experiences. We anticipate that by 2024, as flight capacity fully recovers and travel becomes more affordable, it will unlock even greater demand, further solidifying our position as the region’s leading experience-first platform.”
A recent study by Klook called TravelPulse revealed that experiences have become the new currency for the next generation of travellers, with 85% of millennials and Gen Z willing to invest in unique experiences.
Building Klook Kreators into conversion engine
To cater to this trend, Klook has launched Klook Kreators, an influencer affiliate programme with a focus on social media.
Gnock Fah said, “Our focus isn’t just on any content; it’s about diving deep into user-generated content that’s mobile-friendly, snackable, authentic, and highly shareable – everything that ignites wanderlust and enhances travel experiences. As authenticity now shapes the way we travel, our aspiration is to build the world’s largest social travel community, facilitating exploration and discovery of destinations and experiences.
“We’re seeing that social media is able to become a conversion engine,” he added. “Before, social media was more about building awareness and building a network effect, but we were not able to see how it could convert for us. Social media platforms themselves have been innovating towards conversion versus just engagement. That’s why we believe we can spend more marketing dollars on social media.”
What’s notable are the numbers that make up Klook Kreators. At the moment, the platform has affiliated with over 3,500 content creators, influencers, and KOLs across eight platforms including TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Lemon8. They’ve produced more than 10,000 social posts and garnered over 30 million views. Nano KOL’s (10k followers and below) make up 45% of the Kreator programme, followed by 32% of Micro KOLs (10k – 50k followers). Mega KOLs (over 500k followers) make up 3% of the Kreator ecosystem.
“Micro and Nano KOLs are able to convert better,” said Gnock Fah. “We want to be very data-and-conversion-driven and for Macro KOLs, they tend to be about CPM (click per mille) – you pay them the advertising dollar based on the impressions they’re able to drive to you.”
He continued, “What we aim to do is then grow the [Micro and Nano KOLs] to Macro. For those that have potential, we will put marketing dollars behind them to grow their posts and followers. They’re willing to work with us on a commercial model that fits our needs – and if not conversion, we will work with them to make that happen.”
To celebrate its milestone, Klook is hosting a travel festival as well as embarking on gamification to enhance customer engagement, such as a travel trivia game with prizes for Klook users.
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