Klook sees bookings surge for Thailand
published : 29 Mar 2023 at 10:00
newspaper section: Business
writer: Molpasorn Shoowong
Klook, an online travel platform, is expecting more than a million bookings for tourism activities in Thailand this year, ranking in the top three for destinations on the platform.
Eric Gnock Fah, chief operating officer and co-founder of Klook, said the number of customers this year should grow by 300% from the 2019 level.
This year marks the platform's highest target for Thailand since launching eight years ago, he said.
Tourists from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan would be the main contributors for bookings in Thailand, followed by South Korea and Singapore, said Mr Gnock Fah.
In terms of destinations, key cities include Bangkok and Phuket, followed by Chiang Mai, which still lags behind the two leaders in flight resumption.
Khao Yai ranks fourth thanks to its short driving distance from Bangkok, he said.
More customers would look for car rental services as the trend of exploring places outside crowded cities like Bangkok is gaining traction among experienced drivers, said Mr Gnock Fah.
The average rental fee is around US$500 per week, with this service in Thailand contributing more than the global average revenue share of 10%.
He said customer demand for the post-pandemic period is much higher than the available car rental fleet.
An emerging trend for luxury travel is being pushed by high airfares, which has prompted inbound tourists to consider upgraded services that offer a better experience, said Mr Gnock Fah.
Other popular packages include Klook Editions, such as co-designed tours with local merchants to Koh Phi Phi or a floating market day tour.
Klook reported 100% growth for activities bookings for three consecutive quarters after Thailand reopened last year.
Average spending in the country was 30% higher than the pre-pandemic period as customers pivoted to more premium services.
Klook Pass, a bundled multi-destination ticket, should help increase average spending to 50% higher than before the pandemic, he said.
Together with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Mr Gnock Fah said Klook plans to launch a promotional campaign to draw millennials from short-haul markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.
He said there are also opportunities for new destinations in Thailand as the company will promote more places other than key cities.