Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with Klook’s Jonathan Williams

This week, we chat with Klook’s marketing director for Australia and New Zealand about Pete Townshend, ambient anxiety and his jaunts to the South Coast.

What are you reading?

Who Are You: The Life of Pete Townshend. Ever since my early years as a musician, I’ve always been fascinated by the stories of creative pioneers.

What are you watching?

The Bureau, a French spy series on SBS. It’s a real thriller with superb acting and attention to detail in the writing.

What are you listening to?

BBC Radio 2. Started during lockdown to keep up with the news back home in the UK, but now I’m hooked to the 90’s throwbacks… oh dear.

What are you cooking?

Just signed up for Hello Fresh, so pretty much anything and everything!

How are you staying fit both physically and mentally?

Early morning ocean swims and yoga. Trying to build in 10 mins meditation into the day.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the coronavirus hit?

I’ve experienced wonderful solidarity and a sense of coming together within the travel industry during this time. Contacts reach out regularly with interesting and helpful insights, or just to say hello.

And with the old ‘playbooks’ either on hold or gone completely, I’ve had so many inspiring partnership discussions, often full of new ideas, openness and creativity, which is very encouraging for us all.

What have you learned about yourself amid the crisis?

As an extrovert who enjoys face time with my team, I was a little sceptical about how effective working from home would be for me, but I’ve learned I can adapt to it surprisingly well.

In fact, my days are more structured than ever (out of necessity), and video meetings are more productive and efficient, as we combine them with live collaboration tools such as Google Docs. I do miss the chit chat and coffees though!

What’s your advice for others in the industry on coping with the crisis?

It’s never been more important to look after each other. It’s normal to have an ambient level of anxiety during these times, especially in an industry like travel.

So, I try to check in regularly with my colleagues, be open and think about what I can share that is calming and motivating. It’s important to cut through the noise from the negative news cycle. And this applies to your customers too!

Where is your favourite domestic travel destination?

The South Coast of NSW. Such an easy journey from Sydney, but instantly relaxing. I love the variety of beaches, mountains and charming towns.

What is the one international travel memory keeping you going through this time?

Skiing in the beautiful Italian Dolomites on my honeymoon, just weeks before COVID hit.

Where do you want to travel to once international travel restrictions ease up?

Japan for skiing in fresh powder. And, of course, a bit of travelling around using the Klook App to book all my trains, food and things to do!

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