Klook Journey of a Travel Start-up from Hong Kong to a Global Unicorn

Post by Anupam Pandey | Jan 25, 2019

The successful journey of business that was born less than half a decade ago is a truly phenomenal achievement. There are hundreds and thousands of business ideas that begin their journey in the market every year and merely a handful number of them are able to transform their business dreams successfully. The market is brutal and unforgiving and it is all about adapting and mould the business with the time. Darwin’s theory of natural selection seems very much applicable for the business world too because only the fittest survive, all the rest ones perish.

The travel and tech start-up Klook was founded by Eric Gnock with a somewhat similar ambition. He had a new business idea in his mind like thousands of other entrepreneurs and he wanted to put all his heart and passion in making it a reality. But without any prior experience of handling business and no idea about how to set up a business structure, most people would have placed their bet on its failure rather than success back then. Thus began the journey of Klook, a start-up of Hong Kong that ended up conquering the whole world. Today it has spread its wings and skills to an extent where it is challenging the big birds in the open sky. Klook Travel is now one of the most successful travel tech platforms of Asia and went on to conquer the other continents with its tremendous sprint. One could blindly trust Klook to arrange everything for your trip even before you board your flight and avail exclusive Klook Discount Code to ensure the lowest possible tour package customized to your personal choices.  

The Business Conception

A 26-year-old young man from Hong Kong, Eric Gnock Fah was dreaming about a business concept that he was confident about. But he had no clue that his concept of tech travel amalgam was soon going to stir the whole travel business forever. The idea was there but he was unable to crack the way, to begin with. He had one partner in his long-time friend and colleague Ethan Li but they needed someone who could link their travel business concept with the technology.

They were inexperienced on the tech front and needed a tech mind to materialize their model on the digital ground. They understood that there was no point to hold back and wait for something to come their way in hope of a breakthrough. They amended their own way to create the desired breakthrough. So Gnock Fah began the search for a tech companion on the LinkedIn social media platform. He went through thousands of probable persons for the association and met more than 100 persons personally for a discussion. The two friends knew that they were not looking for an employee but co-founder who would be the core part of their business and therefore they were looking for a person that not only hones the tech skills but also the personality of a leader. Finally, they ended up their search on Bernie Xiong, a software engineer who was working in Hong Kong for a multinational tech company at that time and had an experience of working in China too.  

Making a Perfect Team with Strangers

Business is all about taking risks where you are often trapped in taking a chance or playing it safe. Their new founding member was also looking to begin something of his own and this unexpected opportunity by two unknown people was not something that could convince him to make up his mind and go for it. After all, it would be weird for anyone to trust someone coming to you with an offer through the profile on LinkedIn. After a number of discussion sessions and meetings, Xiong felt confident enough about the potential of the business idea and its success.

No business strategy is fool-proof and devoid of risks. It is all about taking the right moves at the right time no matter how much risk is involved. The founding members were a complete stranger for their tech partner and vice versa. It is, in fact, something which could have worked both ways. Most business start-ups which fail after getting a floor to move on are actually due to the conflict of views between the co-founders. But the case of Klook is one of the happy endings that we rarely see in the practical world. But at the end of the day, this start-up was following the unorthodox and unheard path from its first step itself.

The Scope of Services

Klook was always a bit unique considering its approach that was travel-centric. Almost every travel business back then was selling products that were a pre-defined tour itinerary and travel packages which followed a scheduled route and visiting sights. Klook Travel Packages, on the other hand, came with a premise that gave the traveller option to choose the tour activities of own choice and the tailor-made customized package at the lowest price which delivered everything that the user demanded without breaking his bank. Thereby, it was meant to serve every traveller a tour arrangement which is perfectly designed in a way they wished their trip to be like and charged only for the activities user opts for with no prerequisite package that charges for the whole trip as a whole. This was a really different way of doing things as it compelled users to pay for all the activities even if the user skips a few of those activities provided in a package.

The Klook promised a simple way to help travellers in exploring attractions, discover activities and many other things for the travel destinations. This actually gave it the desired thrust from its very initial days.

The company developed three basic themes to present its service -

Handpicked Experiences - Klook emphasizes quality and for this, it has always stressed upon creating the best possible experience for travellers. Klook has a team of experts spread all around the world who visit and explore the best offerings to provide the absolutely worthwhile activities and sights that traveller can try on this trip. These handpicked experiences are sorted and handpicked to curate the most awesome tour that a person can explore at a travel destination.

Best Price Guarantee – The tours arranged by Klook not only promise you to deliver the best experiences but also guarantees that you get the best price for that booking. The Klook also gives you the challenge to find a better deal on a tour than theirs and it would give you double the amount of that difference as a refund.

Seamless Booking  & Transparent Pricing – Klook has worked out a very intuitive design that helps the users in book the tour of their preferences and charges you just for the activities which you opted for without any predefined compulsion of package that compels you to pay for those things as well which you are uninterested in doing while on tour. There also Klook Promo Code available for the users to avail additional deals on the top of that.

The journey from Hong Kong 

The co-founders went through several start-up expos and seed funding programs in China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan and ultimately bagged their first round of funding 5$ million from an investment firm based in Tokyo. The company began working on its business infrastructure and revenue funnel and strategy to successfully lure travellers with its customized tailor-made tour branding. Soon, Klook was up and running in the market and there has been no looking back since then.

Klook capitalized on the beauty of their base city Hong Kong which is one of the most visited travel destinations of the world. This essentially meant that Klook had a big target audience to work on which it attracted using Klook Coupons. The iconic beauty of Hong Kong together with the assorted and handpicked tour packages of Klook turned out to be a much-hit formula and started reaping the reward.

The success in Hong Kong and its surrounding areas gave Klook the desired motivation and also got noticed by other investment firms who saw its potential as a business and high chances of success. The company grabbed its second round of funding soon after to expand its services to some other neighbouring regions of South East Asia with the help of it. Soon, the inexperienced entrepreneurs who led to successful start-up venture became the hot topic of discussion in the tech circle of the region. It was a dream start for their well-conceived business model which also increased the popularity of Klook exponentially.

Expansion beyond the Realms

The successful operations of Klook and very healthy revenue performance of the company helped it in convincing more investors to fund their venture and expand its magnitude of operation as well as the scope of the services it provides. The company collected 80$ million in its third round of funding which helped it spread its wing across most of the travel destinations of Asia and Oceania including countries such India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei

Klook emerged as a leading travel brand with its unique products that promised the users to serve what they actually want to engage in during their trip and also giving them the assurance of best value for money with its best price guarantee and offers in form of Klook Voucher code. The company got very notable positive reviews which customers were especially inclined to book for the convenience of booking the tour activities of own choice and they needed to pay for those activities only without getting forced to pay for a bundled package which charges them for things they don’t even want to engage in.