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A STARTUP TO GET EXCITED ABOUT?

The domestic travel industry is strong, and at times it’s booming! Today, 85% of kiwi couples plan their travel online, leading to 35thousand travel-related searches and bookings on travel apps every week. However, with the dispersal of domestic travel restrictions, kiwis are ready to leave their bubbles but are discouraged by the time and energy it takes to plan their trips on mainstream platforms.
Wellington in your pocket solves this issue. Through providing bundled experiences, this one-stop-shop helps consumers find the perfect experience while also reducing the time and money spent planning them.

 

Graham Bloxham founded Wellington in your pocket because the current information and travel platforms weren’t efficient or useful due to ads, false ratings and deceptive pricing. The idea for the company came when Bloxham had difficulty booking a weekend trip to Rotorua. What should’ve been a quick, enjoyable experience ended up taking five hours, over 17 tabs and six sites, leaving Bloxham with no clue how to connect these events. So, knowing IT and wanting to support the Covid-impacted industry, he decided to build something that encouraged domestic travel.

 

Wellington in your pocket is a start-up company aiming to encourage tourism in Wellington by providing bundled experiences. Unlike other mainstream companies, Wellington in your pocket’s website and the app offers all the information travelers need in one place. This company provides for its varied audience by allowing consumers to personalize their bundled experience to meet their needs and interests. By providing the best deals and offers, these platforms save consumers both time and money while supporting local businesses through recognition and expanding their customer base.

 

Furthermore, Wellington in your pocket has the potential to grow. Through its extensive social media presence of over 450,000followers, the company has a direct line of communication with its consumers. As a result, it can adapt and add new experiences to meet the changing needs. The company can also expand toother cities in Aotearoa and create packages that include the different cities. The possibilities are endless!

 

For further information, please contact:

gbloxham@gmail.com

 

 

 

The Consumer

Just before the I’ll fated lockdown 2020, when Graham Bloxham passionate wellingtonian and media personality was invited as a guest of RotoruaNZ and experienced the chaotic tourism industry software first hand, he made a comprehensive list of how he might help the industry, hospo, travel and attractions sectors recover from the virus, he specified obvious items such as sites too complex, too many ads, too much commission paid, no ability to create one’s own experiences, and a chaotic industry being dominated and sucked dry by gigantic OTA sites that add little value and are instep with preditory search and social ads engines. A lethal control layer for the chase.
He also included the words reach and audiences so he could sell things if the ideas he was thinking were ever implemented.
Strange, then, that he omitted to mention the very consumers that drive the industry and could benefit from a better system. Stranger still, when you realize that Bloxham and the tech people of Welly are renowned for manufacturing high quality software.
The consumer seems fated to be largely ignored, which makes it the ideal subject for a good kiwi yarn.
“I wake up go to work, generate my income to play and thrive, yet the industry has had a terrible demise. Nobody declares that ‘the consumer is mightier that the sword’ – not so long the dreaded lergy exist.
But overlooked is just the way I like it. I am an admirer of things that tend to pass unnoticed and unappreciated.
From using preditor sites, the search giants, the actors that set the tone and take the most in this disrupted industry are often accepted and used despite.
Their time has come, and the lessons that have been learned should not be missed.
That is why – I hope – those trends and lessons of past and a brave new range of services might be embraced instead of slipping back into being dominated by preditors again and leaving your customers dis engaged and not properly embraced.
Now software takes time and agile is the way, constantly listening improving, failing fast and soldiering on. In focusing on the otas, preditory search and consumers makes it really easy to paint a picture.
Existing systems and search suck over 30% and have crazy control. Do Kiwis like being controlled.! No
Control the industry must unite and be the first to shake off. We are bold and resilient enough, nimble and good and as the great kiwi bird can sleep anywhere, in the tussock, on a beach or in a Forrest so can the industry adapt to a new more direct, less expensive and sustainable model.
Keep your cash here not there. And make our industries strong by keeping that slice in Aoteroa.
These preditors will still be here and hopefully they will compare the despair and start to move in a more compassionate manner. Don’t hold your breath though.!
In selecting 7 systems to support this rant, my aim has been to nudge the industry to take these, embrace these pioneers and crazy entrepreneurs who are like us, need support and collaboration to succeed.
Together I hope this brave new collaboration will keep more in your pockets as there will never be another time to move like this.

NZ has a 6 month head start, Lets not waste it

I find it hard to put into words the impact this is having on people, communities and businesses.
As I write I’m humbled by the support coming from the Government and for each other and excited and ready for the challenge ahead. Glass half full, my family and business network is safe and most are thriving unbelievably under the new opportunities, albeit allot frayed.!
There appears a new collective desire from big hitters that I’ve never witnessed, to work together, collaborate and make a big impact.
The speed things are happening is amazing, we must all work together, small orgs with big to adapt and take advantage of market shifts and emerging opportunities.
I suggest, “Is the pre covid rule book gone, is it dust.?”. This has amplified everything.
Businesses have to look hard at how they do business and adapt. It’s as simple as that. It’s a constant change in chaos.
This virus feels like a test run for worse to come, from the virus itself, behavioral shift or geo political aggressions. Expect the unexpected.!
This is going to be a tough and amazing time. For every job lost we will create 2 new ones by being innovative and out of necessity. Aotearoa is 6 months ahead. We are nimble, fast and innovative. We are going to be the first place open again, so let’s take advantage of it.
One of my business colleagues was wiped out in ChCH and he says COVID is no different for him and he got bugger all support. He worries about the medical issues we face and I agree.

Personally, i’ve accepted, “that settling for less is OK”.

Graham Bloxham

How will the events industry grow again?

I ran an extremely successful events company Social Cooking, hosting public and then big corporate cooking events for 10 years. We were fortunate to have exited pre COVID.

The concept of consumers or corporates not coming to events and dealing with bad weather, & slow uptake is not unusual for the events industry, with the earthquakes, GFC type events, recessions, corporates flipping, seasonal lulls and changing trends all contributing to the uncertainty.

The events industry contributed 500 M into the NZ economy per annum. Our look shows more than 5,000 events have been cancelled to date. A further 3,393 events are postponed indefinitely with another potential 5,000 to follow in the next six months.

Given Covid is no earthquake it’s going to be extremely tough for the events industry but whinging and sending press releases about it and asking for government handouts when every other industry is doing the same isn’t going to fix anything.

Event companies will need to be resilient, Move Online, try revolutionary new things.

Worse still the talking head industry lobby groups are doing themselves and their members a disservice and should rethink their role. They should be looking for new models, revenue streams, arranging innovation workshops or they will be defunded and cast aside.

The industry needs to pivot and change the business models. Work to get consumers more engaged to match up with consumer demand.

I have recently invested with an online boxing game Round 4 Round boxing.

This company is looking at it exactly the right way.

Grow, pivot and go where the people are going. Online. With these emerging technologies for every 1 job lost this type of online game and event experience we will create 2 new kiwi jobs.
The company Round 4 Round is bullish and so should the events industry be excited about the future if the embrace online.

Internet traffic has gone up by 360%.

The events companies have to be innovative & look to new technology, apps, remote conference scenarios and new tech to deliver brand experiences and generate new income.

With travel restrictions, border closures and consumers not wanting to gather in groups this pandemic is just a test run for more to come.

Graham Bloxham

Off Alcohol for 11 years!

It is empowering and the clear thinking delivers results  you and your family and friends will love. The cost savings liberating and the engagement and love for family is immense. The huge negative impacts on performance are not so amazing.

Against the backdrop and the benefits of no booze and operating successfully in business. For me it’s a good time to share how good it is and the clear benefits of slowing drinking or stopping entirely as I did,  for you, family, friends and whoever could benefit from knowing my stuff.

This is not something I talk about often and it comes as a surprise to many given my force of nature approach to business.! I had my last alcoholic booze binge in 2010.

After 25 years of over the top behavior, arrests, manipulation and ups and downs, huge family impacts there I was washed up, weak of body and mind, confused and thinking I was on top of the world. I was a huge winner in my booze haze. Multiple businesses on the go and fuck all focus. I became to realise i was in and limited by a booze infested glass ceiling.

At the time I had my epiphany I was starting our corporate entertainment company Social cooking which went on to sell tens hundreds of thousands of dollars of booze annually so I was surrounded by it constantly and for the 10 years running it, but i didn’t mind as i was looking forward and seeing the changes.

Later in this time I did a paid talk about giving up booze, my journey and the impacts.  As a paid guest speaker, it was serious to me. At the end many in the audience started to openly weep at the story. Smart grown adults and some serious CEOS with big families hearing how bad this shit can get and such is the power of giving up and overcoming the EVIL thing I call “the biggest time thief ever that is booze addiction”.

I can’t say how good it can be and some things I’ve learned.

SUGAR – You can become addicted to BOOZE and the sugar in BOOZE. I had given up about a year and  when beer o’clock, approx 2/3pm came around the craving came on and was quite strong. I thought oh here we go. I’m tired of this so I whipped out and grabbed a big whittakers fruit and nut and nailed half of it and to my surprise it went away. The light went on that I was addicted to alcohol and sugar too. The lesser being sugar so i used that for some time tobeat the cravings.

Pressure and exercise and awareness/action.! – I used exercise to manage my pressure and at a moment’s notice of pressure,  I got out, went for a walk and did regular exercise. I don’t care what it is but when i did it the pressure went away.

Measurement – I started measuring the money i saved, The time i got back, the conversations i started to have with my family and friends that were conversations and not demands or pushy statements. If you can’t measure it you cant manage it, so i found that to be really super helpful.

Risk and booze lowering inhibitions – It was incredible, you get so tired and pickled you are unable to feel and think things through when recovering. I’m talking about 5 beers is enough to do this. But I was doing 15 beers a night so when I stopped I could think. My mentor said he noticed a dramatic change in my focus and behaviour. All the pressure went away. Funny that I thought booze helped get rid of pressure but for me it exacerbated it.

We put so much energy in to being efficient, performing better then we fuck our selves over with booze. It amazes me. I see some really smart people say. I am really driven and focused and I account for my time and I have none to spare time as I’m soooo busy and then see them get pissed all the time. It is criminal to see those double standards.

Listening and respect – When your not at  a party boozed you can listen and respect people.

The Bloxy effect – I think the performances and stuff we did become so extreme, i liked the image i saw and the way my mates loved the stories. Don’t fall for that though as they might live vicariously through you but its not good and they should grow some balls and say NO or stand up and say thats not right, and i would now if i saw that happening. Interestingly also when I stopped shouting at the bar and drinking nightly  it was amazing how many “great mates” i lost.

Depression – I Won’t go too far here but stopping alcohol started my journey out of that corresponding hole.

Mornings – this is where you wake up foggy. Headache, dry. No motivation. I got another month a year back from stopping this and I can only imagine how many other hours back.

Hey this is a first for me,  opening up publicly and sharing my thoughts. Probably one a few to come. With the pressure of COVID im seeing boozing going up and that is a worry to me.!

The bottom line for me is it’s better without booze and if you want to chat any time reach out.

0275 526 335

A startup to get excited about and click on?

Today, 85% of Kiwi couples plan their travel online.

To contextualize how significant that is, in 2020, some 35k searches and bookings were produced through travel apps every week.

Now, those corny roadie trip photos, support local campaigns, do something new NewZealand and hot dog leg poolside snaps Tourism NZ are mocking are about to make Graham Bloxham– Wellington in your pocket’s founder — a player in the huge travel sector and start up challenger amongst some of the biggest platforms in the world: The startup is prepping for a launch mid 2020.

Wellington in your pocket was founded in Lockdown one by Bloxham on the basis the current platforms are awful.

… after booking a trip to Rotorua took 5 hours with 17 tabs and 6 sites open and no way of glueing it all together or sharing the trip to get feedback. Knowing IT he decided to build something to make it easier.

He launched Wellington in your pocket as an antidote to antiquated travel search site norms (e.g., you have to go to 5 sites and open many tabs to get your info and none of it is glued together. This coupled with booking sites making it hard to get refunds. On the app, “our guests” as he calls them, can plan a trip, glue it all together, collaborate with others before booking and end up with a bundle sort of itinerary that is useful.

The approach is set to take off

A review of the company’s feature set shows a number of strengths:

  • Brand: Wellington in your pocket allows you to build up your experience across multi sites, places and categories and ask others coming on the adventure to collaborate before booking and the company plans to win with 55% of new users from word-of-mouth.
  • Market growth: The online travel market after covid rights itself is set to grow again exponentially. Tailwinds include people traveling more domestically, better pricing of activities, people chasing hidden gems which the company is focusing on, and increased online usage.
  • Freemium opportunity: Users are after content in one place and happy using freemium platforms to plan and book themselves. Effectively taking out the travel agent layer.
  • Social & sharable: The company has purchased some huge social media audiences. It now has 1.5M followers in NZ and will grow up to 2.0 M and wants 10 M in Australia and 25 m in the UK. Users can build up trips and share or collaborate before booking causing natural spread and after their trip they can gloat further showing the apps usefulness and naturally promoting the service.
  • Features & UX: Wellington in your pocket is the first to offer a shareable bundl-ing engine for their guests to build up and have their trip in one screen. All content in one place.
  • Tangential products: Wellington in your pocket plans to capitalise on its opportunity by launching Bundle marketplace(networking and collaboration for operators) and Bundle BFF (travel friendships). Bundle and Earn(earn income by sharing and selling trips directly to your bases)

The online travel industry opportunity is big

But one of Wellington in your pocket’s largest competitors, Expedia Group and Booking Holdings reported gross bookings of $99 billion and $92 billion, respectively, and various other sites dominate Google search making it hard to get noticed.

TripAdvisor and Booking.com have actually been embroiled in bad publicity in the past over not returning money for bookings canceled and being found to be misrepresenting the quality of rooms and lying about last minute pricing to consumers.

Whatever the app’s long-term fortunes, one thing is for sure, finding experiences isnt easy and taking on the behemoth platforms isn’t either.

 

Let’s see if consumers are equally a-‘buzz’ with the company.

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