Innovative lifestyle app OODLZ is disrupting the visitor economy by rewarding Kiwis for exploring their own backyard.
Born out of Covid-19, the app incentivises people to explore New Zealand and support local.
“When our country, and especially our tourism industry, small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), and events sector were so affected by lockdowns, we wanted to help New Zealand. We wanted to help communities remember how to have fun, to go out and support their region,” says Founder and Chief of Purpose, Gina Paladini.
“The best way to do that was by rewarding people, meaning that they would also have more fun,” she says.
And that is exactly what Paladini did when she created OODLZ.
The app allows Kiwis to complete activities for Experience Cards that are based on special interests like “Food & Drink”. Each experience card has 16 activities that include quizzes, location check-ins, photo sharing and more. Kiwis can then do three or more activities on the card, gaining 100 points and claim a reward.
Launched in early 2022, OODLZ is already operating across major communities in the country.
The company was first launched in Southland in collaboration with Tourism New Zealand, encouraging Kiwis to visit, after the region was deemed the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Paladini admits the first week in Southland did well before the second and third week met a wave of Covid, but she still calls the launch a success.
Interestingly, OODLZ wasn’t the first idea Paladini came up with – it was the culmination of an initial idea she had a few years prior.
In November 2020, she first launched an app under the name “The Great New Zealand Bingo Bonanza”, with players completing a bingo board while they travel around the country.
“Tourism New Zealand and some other larger organisations couldn’t support it because the word ‘bingo’ implied gambling. And then when we tried to do social media campaigns, Zuckerberg also said the word implied gambling,” she says.
She also adds that it became complicated for people to decide how they would get a bingo with multiple ways to win.
“So, we rebranded, made the game super simple and launched it two months ago,” says Paladini.
Since then, OODLZ has further collaborated with other communities to encourage people to explore New Zealand. One of the recent partnerships was alongside universities during Orientation Week, hoping to ‘gamify’ the experience for new students in Auckland wanting to explore the city.
The latest collaboration with OODLZ is with Heart of the City and Auckland Council for City of Colour, bringing Kiwis back into the city.
“[Auckland] turned into a donut, where suburbs outside the CBD is going well and nobody is going downtown,” Paladini says.
“We are thrilled to be supporting Heart of the City and helping activate their event, City of Colour. The purpose of OODLZ is to add more fun to Kiwis’ lives and help communities. So, leveraging OODLZ as a channel for this event is a perfect fit.”
Over 50 light installations have been put up in Auckland City as part of an initiative to bring more people into the CBD. As part of the game, Kiwis were asked to take pictures of the installations, do location check-in’s and quizzes to earn points up to 100 to redeem a $10 voucher for businesses that are Heart of The City members.
“Not only do we gamify and incentivise people to come into the city, but also we are able to provide Heart of the City members and the Auckland Council definitive data on what the event did,” says Paladini.
Looking to the future, the vision for OODLZ is to allow communities to create their own cards on the app. Specifically, Paladini wants the app to be “working a lot more with charities, to help them get their messages out and get fundraising”.
“The fun thing is anyone can support and create an OODLZ card, so if anybody has a football club or a community group that want to get people’s attention, they can use OODLZ to get their message out, drive brand awareness and get fundraising.
“We also want to work with a lot more events to help support them and also those who have been doing it tough.”
Paladini is excited to see OODLZ expand further with borders opening and international travellers arriving in New Zealand, and is expecting that a number of international visitors will use the app.
“I’ve always had a vision for example that an Australian family will come over and their son plays rugby. They land in Auckland, go on the app and see a local rugby club is having a game that day. So, they go watch the game and buy a sausage sizzle. It’s really about supporting community,” she says.
Paladini says she hopes the app will encourage international travellers to come back to New Zealand and “not just take pictures and leave”.
By the end of the year, OODLZ hopes to achieve 50,000 users and be accessible nationwide.