Travel activities booking apps may not be just for the young, adventurous traveler. As more Chinese travelers are ditching the group tours in favor of independent travel, it is increasingly important for those tourists to be able to book activities on their own, whether before departure or at their destination. And the luxury hotel industry is taking notice of the trend.
Hong Kong-based travel activities platform Klook is looking beyond independent millennial travelers and entering the high-end tourist market with a new partnership, announced on December 5, with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts that could change the hotel’s operations.
Through its partnership with Shangri-La, new Klook Concierge tablets will be installed at Shangri-La locations. Hotel guests can use the tablets to book activities and experiences, either in advance or at the last minute. These concierge terminals will first be installed at hotels in Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Singapore this month before being rolled out worldwide in 2019.
It seems unlikely partnership between an impersonal app and an exclusive hotel chain, but as Skift has pointed out, it could actually yield some substantial benefits for both parties.
It could help Klook reach high-end luxury travelers who may not yet be aware of the app, and it may generate greater interest in the Shangri-La brand among younger travelers. This could expand the user base, but more importantly drive sales of more expensive activities packages on the platform, including spa services and dining options offered at the hotel. Shangri-La benefits by further expanding the services they have to offer guests, making the accommodation experience more comprehensive than ever before.
Shangri-La Vice President of loyalty partner and marketing Wee Kee Ng told Skift that hotel guests are increasingly looking for “personal experiences beyond the hotel product.” The hotel group will also earn a commission on activities bookings through the Klook Concierge.
The partnership isn’t just a step forward for Klook and hotels’ guest services; it is an indication that more travel industry players are seeking a larger share of the up-and-coming activities booking market. More established players, such as Ctrip.com International, have been working to compete with Klook, which attained “unicorn” status only a few months ago, by offering their own activities for Chinese outbound tourists. But Klook’s strategy of being available in the destination at the last minute gives it an edge in the market — and a dedicated terminal in hotels will further expand its reach as travelers won’t need to download the app.