Top News Bespoke reboots digital focus with new online experiences By Caroline Boey / Posted on 14 April, 2021 16:06 China’s specialist ground operator Bespoke Travel Company is recalibrating its live online strategy for international clients, who are only likely to return in 2022 when the Covid-19 pandemic is no longer considered a serious threat and borders reopen. CEO Sarah Keenlyside said that while its online products were a “lifeline during the pandemic, some lost interest when lockdown restrictions were eased last summer and people were no longer confined at home”. Keenlyside added: “We were pleased with the good response but we were stunned by the online fatigue. Now, we are ready to test the waters again. With people more used to online experiences, reviving our online push will keep interest going until international travellers can buy in-person tours.” The Bespoke founder noted that the profit margin for its online products was better because of the higher volume and lower costs. “Revenue-wise, we had to keep the pricing reasonable and it was encouraging for our team to see money coming in, instead of having to make refunds to international clients,” she shared. Apart from its key US market, Bespoke’s online products were popular in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Africa and Brazil. Keenlyside said the in-depth talks would attract around 75 people and 50 for the activities, and took place very early or very late in China to cater to the overseas markets. The online experiences included tai chi classes; a WeChat live-stream hutong tour in Beijing; a virtual cocktail-making event; subject matter expert talks; and a course on how to make and eat hand-pulled noodles, which were recorded and sent to participants. Even though Bespoke decided to wind down its online product promotions following the online fatigue, there were requests from overseas educational institutes and corporates for customised programmes. Bespoke is now looking at launching online products that combine a dining experience in a unique space in China with a subject matter specialist as guest speaker, and overseas clients can listen to the talk.