You might be overwhelmed with ads claiming to offer the best deals in travel bookings on TV or websites. Technology’s disruption to the tourism industry is not just in terms of pricing. The success of Klook, a Hong Kong-based travel startup, shows how technology can do a lot more in creating new travel products and thus new markets.
Founded in 2014, Klook helps travelers book trip activities, including more exotic types. The platform mainly targets the newly emerging independent travelers, while most traditional travel agencies mainly target the mass market.
Klook has recently raised US$60 million in a series C round, after raising US$30 million in series B in March. It has added Goldman Sachs to its list of backers. Existing investors Sequoia (lead) and Matrix Partners also participated in the series C round.
The company has shown high growth momentum. Klook has grown to over 400 employees in 13 offices across Asia. Its platform has more than one million bookings per month. Therefore, its business has already reached a certain scale.
Klook aims to expand its global footprint and accelerate R&D with the funds, in order to provide quality travel experiences and booking services, indicating a promising outlook.
In fact, the concept of travel experience has already been adopted by several other travel service providers, such as American travel and restaurant website TripAdvisor.
Last year, Airbnb launched Trip, a feature that offers a taste of local activities led by locals. The lodging website is planning to launch restaurant and vehicles booking to its service list. It’s only a matter of time before it transforms into a full-service travel company.
The emergence of Klook and similar companies like BeMyGuest in Singapore has shown that technology is rapidly changing the landscape of the Asian travel industry.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov. 3
Translation by Julie Zhu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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