As the embattled tours and activities sector contends with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis, booking platforms are preparing to adjust to a new normal.
For Klook, the Hong Kong-based company is launching a multi-phase approach to recovery. The method aims to address the individual needs and conditions, including stage of recovery, of each market it operates in, starting with the launch of a home-based experiences initiative called Klook Home.
With Klook Home, which is live in 14 markets across Europe and Asia Pacific, travelers can choose from roughly 200 activities to participate in from their household. The virtual experiences – which other experiences providers have pivoted to as a response to the outbreak - include DIY craft and cooking classes, online workshops and virtual tours.
In addition to online experiences, Klook’s first stage of recovery includes capturing local demand in regions where stay-at-home orders have eased. As market conditions improve and travel restrictions ease, its focus will shift to intra-regional travel.
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According to Klook search data on Asia Pacific and Europe, 60% of searches in April were for domestic experiences, indicating consumers are looking for activities close to home. In Taiwan and Hong Kong, where stay-at-home orders have relaxed, domestic experiences accounted for about 80% and 70% of searches, respectively.
Last month, Klook piloted a curated a list of local experiences such as outdoor tours and food tastings in South Korea and mainland China that saw month-on-month bookings increase by almost twofold and fourfold, respectively.
“COVID-19 has inevitably altered the future of travel and we must continue to be nimble to capture new opportunities,” says Klook co-founder and COO Eric Gnock Fah.
“Global travel may be some time away from now but we are confident to seize every opportunity, starting with local experiences. What we do now will define how we navigate the future of travel.”
To aid suppliers with recovery, Klook is launching Klook Academy, which will offer workshops and webinars on topics such as marketing and operations.
Beat the Crowds
Meanwhile, Klook competitor GetYourGuide is launching a new crowd-control platform called Beat the Crowds.
The Berlin-based company says it began testing the product – designed to measure crowds and occupancy levels in real-time via sensors - in Q1 2020, but now has plans to apply the technology to not only ease congestion but to also mitigate public health risks.
With Beat the Crowds, data from the sensors is used to forecast waiting times at attractions, which the attraction can then deliver directly to consumers through the GetYourGuide app.
With the info, customers will know how long they can expect to be in line and how crowded it is inside the attraction; the technology also allows for customers to know how busy it is within different areas of a location.
GetYourGuide says it has no timeline to announce the launch of Beat the Crowds for specific attractions but says the platform is planned to be offered for free and included as a feature for app users.