Klook, the Hong Kong-based platform for experiences and travel services, announced Thursday that it has successfully completed a $210 million financing, supporting business growth and fortifying financial stability.

Klook said in a statement that the equity round is led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from BPEA EQT, Asia investment funds Atinum Investment and Golden Vision Capital, and corporate investment arms from Southeast Asia, including Krungsri Finnovate (under Bank of Ayudhya), Kasikornbank Financial Conglomerate and SMIC SG Holdings.

The round also includes bank facilities from Citi, J.P. Morgan, and HSBC.

Klook said it will strategically allocate the new funds to three key areas for growth.

Firstly, in product innovation, expanding its city pass offerings to enhance traveler convenience and savings.

Secondly, by scaling social and digital marketing through the program, driving conversions with authentic, social, user-generated content.

Thirdly, by advancing innovation through continuous artificial intelligence (AI) integration.

Klook said that its recent collaboration with Google Cloud will integrate generative AI across the platform, covering automated translations, content generation, and customer service chatbot.

The company will also collaborate with the new strategic investors in the region, to increase market share and boost growth, tapping into the fast-growing middle class in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, Klook noted that for many Asian markets, 2023 marks the first year of travel recovery with a notable rebound in tourism figures and a gradual recovery in flight capacities.

Despite this early stage in market recovery, it said the firm has demonstrated remarkable business success, surpassing previous milestones with a threefold increase compared to 2019 and boasting an annualized gross booking value of $3 billion.

Notably, the company also achieved overall profitability for the first time earlier this year.

Ethan Lin, its Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, credits this accomplishment to the collective efforts of the team in establishing the groundwork for the post-COVID era of travel.

“During the pandemic, we doubled down on our resources in merchant digitization and the expansion of our supply network, including car rentals and outdoor experiences,

“This positions us strongly to capture new travel trends coming out of the pandemic,” he said.

Klook said the company’s success is further underscored by its increasing brand strength, strategically building on and leveraging its app-first approach to both acquire and retain customers, with over 80 percent of bookings made through mobile today.

Impressively, it said the influx of new customers acquired in 2023 more than doubled that of 2019, while repeat customers contributed to over half of the total bookings, demonstrating the sustained customer loyalty fostered by the platform.

“Leveraging strong business fundamentals that led to significant growth in revenue and profit this year, including a threefold increase in productivity (revenue per headcount), we are set for a new phase of sustainable expansion,

“With Asia in the early stages of post-COVID recovery, upcoming global events like the Paris Olympics 2024 and Osaka World Expo 2025, along with rising expenditures and digital adoption, the industry outlook in Asia is exceptionally positive,” added Lin.

According to the statement, the global travel industry is projected to soar to a staggering $15.5 trillion by 2033, with Asia Pacific leading the way as the fastest-growing region.

With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11 percent in the Asia Pacific (from 2023-2028), almost doubling that of North America and Europe, Klook opined that this dynamic region is set to capture a larger share of the global travel market, driven by a burgeoning middle class, increased consumer spending, and a growing appetite for unique experiences.

Klook said the firm remains focused on catering to the increasing demand for immersive travel among Asian customers and showcasing the best of Asia to inbound travelers.

“We are pioneering a transformative era of travel, catering to a new generation of more digitally-savvy travelers with bigger and bolder appetites for unique experiences,

“Our goal is to empower travelers to explore the world effortlessly through the Klook app, a one-stop platform that seamlessly connects them to a comprehensive range of in-destination services, encompassing immersive experiences and convenient ground transportation,” said Eric Gnock Fah, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Klook.

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