Photo from Klook

Klook expands content creation programme as influencers drive travel bookings

Eight in 10 Hongkongers book travel based on creator tips.

Reliance on travel recommendations from content creators has pushed Klook to expand its JOYKreator programme, establishing an ecosystem where influencers and customers can seamlessly share content.

“We observed that content creators have become one of the most followed sources for travel ideas and recommendations,” Kenny Sham, general manager of Hong Kong & Macau at Klook, told Hong Kong Business.

In Hong Kong, about nine in 10 customers rely on recommendations from content creators to book travel experiences and products, data from Klook’s Travel Pulse survey revealed.

Since the programme’s inception last year, Klook Hong Kong has worked with more than 300 influencers who together have a follower base exceeding six million. They have jointly created over 1,600 pieces of content for the platform.
“All influencers who share the same goal to create an ecosystem of inspiration are welcomed to join the programme,” Sham said.

Content generation

In addition to leveraging influencers, Klook has utilised artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance content generation.

For example, its Klook AI (K.AI) chatbot can also provide travel recommendations to its customers.

“When customers purchase a Japan rail ticket on our platform, we will also recommend nearby accommodations, activities, and various other experiences to enrich their journey,” Sham said.

Klook AI has eight language versions to provide better recommendations and assistance in itinerary planning to customers.

“We aim to leverage AI to identify new opportunities with more personalised content and value-added services,” Sham said.

AI integration is one of the three key areas Klook plans to focus on after securing US$210m (HK$1.64b) in funding.

Product innovation, rewards

Another area that Klook plans to enhance with its fresh funding is product innovation.

Already in the pipeline is the expansion in the variety offered in its Klook Pass. In 2023, the platform launched 123 Klook Pass products, more than double the 2022 record.

Sham said Klook will also expand its hotel accommodation and transportation options.

Currently, the platform has over 3,000 hotel accommodation options in the Asia-Pacific region.

Recent updates to Klook’s accommodation roster feature the addition of Japanese hotel chains, formerly exclusive to their local websites for bookings.

On transport options, Sham said Klook plans to provide more airport transportation and transfer services and expand rail product services including Japan railways and High-Speed Railway that links Hong Kong and major cities in Mainland China.

Klook also plans to grow its coverage of car rental products since the platform has seen a sustained increase in rental car demand. Japan’s car rental services, for example, saw a 180% year-on-year growth in January 2024.

“In the coming year, we will cover more markets and countries, and collaborate with more local partners to increase pick-up and drop-off locations,” Sham said. “We [will] also provide self-drive insurance products that can be purchased directly after renting a car.”

Another area of investment for Klook is its membership programme. The platform will further invest in Klook Rewards, especially since its members contribute 20% or about one-fifth of their additional revenue, said Sham.

In Hong Kong, the platform’s home base, Klook, will launch HK Rewards 2.0 which introduces more exclusive member benefits like a 12% discount on the third transaction for Gold members.

Music tourism and mega events

To take advantage of the booming travel market in the Asia-Pacific, Klook will expand its focus to include music tourism and mega-events.

In the second half of 2024, Hong Kong will see over 100 mega events, which include 15 new events.

Sham said attending major events or concerts can significantly boost local economies, with additional consumer spending at the destination reaching up to five times the ticket price.

Using the Taylor Swift concert as an example, for which Klook was a partner, Sham noted that a traveller’s additional spending on hotels, restaurants, and experiences in the area can exceed HK$6,000. That’s because such major events can increase demand for related experiences and travel services by around 50%.

“From an economic perspective, music tourism can also benefit surrounding services like accommodation, dining, transportation, and retail,” said Sham.

He said the success of the Taylor Swift’s concert in Singapore as well as the S2O Hong Kong music festival has ignited Klook’s desire to partner with more international brands and trademarks to offer unique experiences.

Concluding, Sham said Klook’s goal is to provide patrons with “more holistic options across all aspects of the travel journey.”

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