Sight, An online travel agency focused on experiences and attractions, has raised $ 200 million in funding.
Espex Management led the round, with existing investors such as Sequoia Capital China, SoftBank Vision Fund 1, Matrix Partners China, and Boyu Capital also participating. The Hong Kong-based startup has raised over $ 720 million since its founding in 2014. A spokesperson did not disclose the valuation of the round imposed on the company.
Klook has survived thanks to domestic holiday spending and domestic tourism in select markets.
“In several months in the second half of last year, in China, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, we have seen domestic rebellions anywhere between 70 percent and 80 percent of pre-Kovid levels,” said Eric Gnock Feh, Chief Operating Officer And co-founder.
Yet the real growth engine of international tourism has all been shut down. The dissolution affected Klook in many ways. Some extras were selling it, such as SIM cards and Wi-Fi facilities for international travelers have stopped. Many of its partnerships with airlines have also dried up to reach customers.
The epidemic has stopped the once-growing growth in tourism and activities. Yet once the epidemic spreads, companies face many opportunities to transfer offline bookings to online channels. When Airbnb went public at the end of last year, it is anticipated The total “addressable market” for experiences in the market that works today was $ 239 billion. Still be a visitor Only 17 percent Online booking in 2019, through online travel agencies sites or as per direct booking Arya.
Many want to deal with the trend driven by demographic shifts. A survey by data intelligence company Morning advice This indicates that more than half of consumers in many major countries around the world would prefer to purchase experiences rather than physical goods.
Meanwhile, however, all, including Klook’s rivals Airbnb Experience, Expedia, GetYourGuide, KKday, The museum (Owned by TUI), Ticketes (Supported by Airbnb), Itinerant (A metasearch site located in Hamburg), Trip.com, The traveler (And its parent company TripAdvisor), and Buddies, Saw their rapid growth rate faltering.
Klook said that most of its bookings keep coming in through its mobile application.
“We continue to see the Klook app as becoming a supercap for experiences someday,” Gnock Fah said. Yet when it comes to other acquisitions of customers, Klook has had to adjust the strategy. The airline that was partnered did not deliver. Instead has leaned into partnerships with providers of digital wallets and e-commerce platforms.
Klook’s campaigns with destination marketing organizations have also helped. For example, Klook recently launched a $ 1.5 million ($ 2 million Singapore) partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board, where it promotes products and experiences, helps develop marketing materials, and hotels , Uses digital marketing to promote household expenses on attractions, tour operators, etc. And dining establishments.
Using Take to Appeal for Experiment Providers
QZ aims to stand out from the main competitors in its core markets to digitize supply. This makes it easier for operators to list their services online, selling not only on Klook’s site and app, but through third-party channels such as Grab SuperUp in Southeast Asia or Alibaba in China.
“In Asia, we are not the only B2C [consumer-facing] Gnock Fah said that platform, but we are also offering digital solutions to help merchants manage their online distribution. “Now we’re expanding those tools.”
Klook is not the only player aimed at helping experience providers tap into online channels. Other players include Sherpa, An effort by travel technology player Amadeus, Which aims to allow operators to connect with hotel guests at a destination while avoiding middlemen such as online travel agencies.
Yet Kong believes it is providing a missing puzzle piece for online sales in the Asia experiences region. Many merchants already have their own sites but probably lack a booking engine that syncs with the live availability of their inventory. Or they may have a social media presence with a wide following but not a way for consumers to click quickly to buy and receive tickets with a barcode or QR-code. Klook is now trying to plug that gap.
In other words, some merchants are quite knowledgeable on social media, but cannot yet capture bookings. This is partly a problem with platforms such as TikTok and Instagram that do not offer adequate demonetization tools. Klook aims to help merchants monetize their social audiences.
During the last few months, Klook expanded its solution to set up a white-label digital storefront similar to e-commerce services for merchants. Shopify. (Here is one Shop lecturer.) Klook is offering this toolkit to traders on “No Upfront Cost”.
The experience sector globally has lagged behind retail and other segments of travel when it comes to digital distribution tools for smaller players. Some analysts say that many smaller experience operators in the Asia Pacific region exceed this score when compared to North America and Europe. This is in contrast to mobile adoption, where Asia Pacific consumers lead the world.
“We are also developing a more advanced solution,” Gnock Fah said. “We will provide offline POS [point-of-sale, or cash register, tech] Hardware and ticketing hardware for large and medium-sized attractions. It will come with an additional charge. “
Fresh money will help in this effort. Acquiring merchants in the market is slightly more expensive than consumer acquisitions, the company said. It has a team of around 200 salespeople trying to sign up merchants around the world. The company has also experimented with social media platforms such as LinkedIn and other forms of business-to-business marketing.
“I really hope that this [fundraising] Gnock Fah said there is some hope for the industry. “We feel that traders need new tools and solutions to cope with this new normal, and we will plan to invest investors’ money in building those tools and solutions for the long-term development of the sector.” We are offering them no upfront cost, et cetera. So it is almost like giving back to the community for the fact that we are blessed to raise additional funds. “
Parts of the technical puzzle may still need to be solved. If an experience operator also accepts offline payments, how does it integrate into the Klook point of sale system? Klook has so far offered a redemption point-of-sale system for tickets already booked online instead of a payment-accepting point-of-sale system.
Gnock Feh said that his company is trying to find sophisticated solutions to that problem.
Meituan as a model for Kit
So what is Klook’s long term business strategy?
“We’re still going to be a supermarket instead of a very niche place,” Gnock Fah said. “The way you should look at it is to use an example from China, is Mituan.”
“In markets like Taiwan, or Southeast Asia, or even Korea, e-commerce has been more about logistics and distribution, but not services,” said Gnock Fah. “The service category is what we have always been. We are going to be more and more similar to the Mituan model.”
This strategy means thinking beyond what are considered travel-related categories in the West.
“Even pre-Kovid, 95 percent of the food and food segment has been very local,” Gnock Feh said. “For beauty, in many destinations in Asia, it can buy 40 percent of passengers. So when it comes back, we want to enable the sale of that.
Like Meituan, Klook has an advantage of customer acquisition in the sense that Western platform players such as Google and Apple, which often act as gateways to the Internet for consumers, remain strong in most parts of the Asia Pacific region Does not have presence. This is partly a language barrier issue and partly how Asian Internet users tend to consume different information, often with a preference for social media-style communication.
Photo Credit: Sentosa is an island in Singapore with resorts and attractions. The attractions of Sentosa can be booked through Kasen, an online travel agency focused on experiences. Sentosa Development Corp
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