Learn how a former small Hong Kong startup became a billion-dollar activities booking giant in Asia. Yes, we’re talking about KLOOK!
Klook, a tech company based in Hong Kong, is a genius when it comes to marketing. For an app that sells tours and travel activities, Klook is definitely at the top if its game. From the near-death moment years after they launched, the company managed to move forward and be better at their niche. People may think that it was just an overnight success, but founders Eric Gnock Fah and Ethan Lin reiterated that it took them a long time to grow their company. The goal is to not just make profit but also make a global impact.
“Of course we can grow the business steadily and we can be profitable overnight, but we wanted not just to be in HK or Asia but globally. It’s a race against time – and only team, execution and money can forge that.”
Penetrating The Asian Market
One of Klook’s advantages is that its target are asian travelers. And when they started, there’s no other activities-selling company in Asia. Most of the ones that are killing it are western and american companies. Right there and then, Klook already answered the main problem of most asians:
“How can I travel easily without the hassle of lining up for a ride in Hong Kong Disneyland?”
“How can I book a discounted taxi ride from the airport to my hotel?”
Yes, Klook doesn’t only offer amazing destinations and activities for its customers. They also make the process easy and hassle-free. And of course, the prices are way cheaper!
Leaning Towards The “Budget” Traveler
Majority of travelers today are in the age group of 18-30 years old. These are the so-called millennials composed of working students, young entrepreneurs and professionals. While some of them are successful, on the other side of the coin, not everyone is privileged to travel without thinking of expenses. Some of these people are on a tight budget, that’s why Klook wants to fill that void. With their cheap prices and good deals, the company’s booking continued to increase over the years.
We all are aware that the inflation rate in travel services (booking flights, hotels, activities) are getting high, and Klook was able to counter strike that.
Instagram As A Medium + Marketing Strategy
Despite the uproar on Instagram’s algorithm, Klook still managed to overcome that by their marketing strategy. True enough, the company found ways to dodge Instagram’s unpredictable algorithm.
Here’s a quick rundown of their Instagram marketing strategy:
Instagram Influencer Marketing
When Klook was just starting, they would just post typical IG promos on their feed. As the years went by, they discovered the use of Influencer Marketing. Just a brief background: Influencer (KOL) Marketing is a form of cost-effective marketing in which partnerships are made between brands and influencers to further promote products and services. Klook was able to convert sales through working with Instagram’s KOLs, that’s why this strategy will likely be a default for the company.
Country-Specific IG Accounts
Klook has only one official IG account with almost 90k followers. But aside from that, they also have other country-specific IG accounts including: Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines, Korea, Singapore – just to name a few. This may seem like a minor thing, but this is a big deal for the brand. Having country-specific IG accounts would make it easier for them to reach their target consumers. Aside from that, it also creates a sense of “belongingness” and “relatability”, making the consumers of that specific country closer to Klook.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
UGC is a very important factor for any brand today, even in KOL Marketing. We currently live in an era where majority of consumers are leaning towards their smartphones and tablets, and it’s vital for brands to produce UGC from time to time. UGC makes a brand credible enough to be trusted by consumers, and Klook was successful with this strategy.
The idea of sharing stories told through HQ images prompted other users to do the same. Before, Klook would post their own photos with wonderful captions to entice their followers. Now, it’s the other way around. The consumers are the ones making their own content and sharing it with their followers (tagging Klook!). This is a good indication that all the efforts of Klook was a success!
“Unicorn Status” + Prioritising Customers
With strong team effort and openness to adapting new practices, Klook is continuously achieving its goals. From being a self-funded company, they were able to complete a US$200 million Series D funding, putting the company to unicorn status.
The company also vows to always put their customers first. From founder Eric Gnock’s words:
“We curate our services regarding on our customers needs: from being on the road to getting to the destination, we offer only the best deals for them.”
Watch this video:
Future Plans: 2019 & Beyond
Klook is set to enter the Japanese market in the first half of 2019. The rising income in the region is lifting demand in travel overseas, and Japan is one of the places where the customers want to go. It is believed that visitors from Hong Kong to Japan jumped 21% on the year to 2.23 million in 2017, equivalent to 30% of the territory’s population.
In a recent interview with Klook’s chief officer, Anita Ngai, she shared that the company is “actively preparing by seeking local partnerships and distribution.” They really are being careful and meticulous with their plan since “Japan is a unique market.”
It looks like no one’s stopping Klook from expanding and growing their business!
- Instagram has given a lot of opportunities for brands to reach to modern consumers, including millennials.
- Marketing shouldn’t be limited to traditional methods. There are new strategies out there like Influencer Marketing that could help boost ROI.
- Success is just the tip of the iceberg, for a company to succeed, it would take years of hard work. Klook did that and became a billion-dollar giant!