Innovative online platform looks to engage younger travellers and level the playing field for tourism operators
Roamio is a local tour-tech start-up with a desire to help young people get off their phones and engage with authentic tourism experiences.
Kiwis have an innate desire to travel and explore, even if it is on our home turf while the borders are closed – but for young people, the current online tourism marketplace and experience isn’t great.
As an enthusiastic creative and passionate traveller, Angus Gieseg (Ngai Tahu) found finding and planning travel experiences felt like a chore. “It was really blog-heavy and unengaging. It didn’t feel enjoyable. I thought this should be better, it shouldn’t be like this,” Angus said.
“I came up with the idea of Roamio, a platform that would quickly match young travellers’ personalities with things to see and do in any location.”
The start-up was selected to participate in Kōkiri 2021, the national kaupapa Māori business accelerator programme run by Te Wānanga of Aotearoa from its business and innovation hub, Te Ahikōmako – Centre of Māori Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Angus was joined on the team by mutual friends John Ryan and Tyler Stanley, with a new developer and designer coming onboard during the programme.
The emerging technology behind the Roamio marketplace will allow travellers to find the best experiences suited to them by answering questions and assigning them a personality named after a Shakespeare character.
Roamio is designed to inspire young travellers anytime, anywhere so they can plan the perfect holiday, day by day as their moods and preferences change.
Angus says Roamio is looking to radically change the way that young people travel and level the playing field for smaller tourism operators. “There will be more spontaneous people travelling but they’ll also be able to see all their options available.”
“The current online tourism marketplace is unfair. If you’re a large player, you dominate the marketplaces and the Google SEO rankings. The smaller players, especially Māori tourism operators, are inaccessible or harder to find. People don’t know where to access them.”
Angus Gieseg (Ngai Tahu) along with Tyler Stanley, James Brown, Chung Le, Logan Brantley and John Rayen are the founders behind Roamio.
The Māori kaupapa-based approach of the 12-week Kōkiri programme has allowed the team to experience Te Ao Māori. “We don’t get to do that in our everyday lives. It’s been really cool to see my friends on the team who didn’t understand Te Ao Māori, or what it meant to be Māori, learn that it’s about love and acceptance and people first before anything else,” Angus said.
The structured sequence of the programme has helped the team develop their vision and their confidence. “Kōkiri has helped us immensely. We understand what we’re doing, and I feel confident we can run this as a business now and I feel confident to be pitching,” Angus says.
Roamio is currently completing the onboarding processes with businesses for their trial platform that will launch for Queenstown only.
“We are hoping to prove that we can provide personalized recommendations, attract young people towards tourism operators, and hopefully see more young domestic travellers exploring more of their amazing country,” Angus said.