A NEW initiative being launched in Southland this week aims to get Kiwis to explore their backyard in a creative way, while being rewarded for it.
With support of Tourism New Zealand, Southland man Matt Stenton and his business partner Gina Paladini have been developing the mobile app OODLZ, which encourages and incentivises people to explore new activities and places, while supporting local businesses and communities.
The app offers several experiences – like “An Incredible day in Invercargill” or “Cheese Rolls Sweetest Treats” – each with 16 activities to choose from.
When the user or the “oodlers” complete the activities on the card through different tools such as a quiz, checking in, taking a photo or even buying a product, they accumulate points and can earn vouchers to be spent throughout Southland.
“Tourism NZ for the last two years [since the beginning of the pandemic] has been asking us to get out and explore our own country. However, the mentality of us as local people is that we know everything and that we have seen and done everything haven’t, at least in a meaningful way,” Mr Stenton said.
“OODLZ is a lifestyle app to encourage people to get out and experience more in their own backward or just to give something a go while earning points and rewarding us for doing so.”
Mr Stenton said the app would be operative nationwide soon, but they decided to promote a three-month trial in Southland as a way of testing the waters.
He felt proud to be able to give something back to his community.
“We are obviously bringing something to Southland that I think will help the economy recover after Covid.
“Once we are up and running, we will launch it in Queenstown and then slowly through New Zealand. By the end of the year we hope to be in each and every single region.”
The initiative would also help the environment as OODLZ would offset the carbon footprint of users.
“That means for anyone using an experience card with us, we will offset their carbon footprint to ensure we are as sustainable as possible.”
Great South tourism marketing manager Anke Ruwette said the app was a great exposure opportunity for businesses in the region as it had been a challenging time for them.
“It is a really exciting tool for tourism operators to put the world out there and also to bring more customers to their businesses.”
Southland Business Chamber chief executive Sheree Carey said the app was a new and innovative technology.
“It is here to support the local economy by creating a fun way to inspire, and encourage Southlanders to get curious about what they can do in Southland and discover more in their region. This could be trying a new consumable, food and beverage offering, activity, or supporting a local community/charity group.
Southern Institute of Technology marketing manager Chami Abeysinghe hoped the app became an important engagement tool for its students.
“Through our partnership with OODLZ, we hope to engage with our students, getting them out and about visiting places of interest, patronising our cafes and restaurants and learning about our wonderful region.
“Also, through OODLZ, we hope to keep our students informed of all the services we provide and support networks available to them.
“We see many uses for the app and look forward to working with the team at OODLZ and the wider Southland community to make the learning journey for our students meaningful and fun.”
OODLZ can be downloaded from any app store.