LLT Cohort


Lightning Lab Tourism bootcamp is underway! The participants are getting familiar with the space they will call home for the next three months, ahead of the official programme kick off next week.

We’re excited to introduce the teams that made it into our first ever Tourism accelerator!


AirGuides. The trip is in your hands

Millennials use travel influencers and social media as their main source for travel inspiration, but travel blogs and social media are not designed for use while on a travel trip nor do they make it easy to book.

So how do travellers book trustworthy, authentic and easy-to-follow trips?

AirGuides is a marketplace where travellers can book unique trips, curated by vetted writers, bloggers and local experts. Each trip is jam-packed with personal recommendations and insider knowledge, and the Airguides app gives travellers the flexibility to follow the trip at their own pace.


Breadcrumbs. A different way to discover

Travel search results can be highly commercially driven and generic, while ratings platforms cater to the masses rather than individual interests. On top of this, smaller tourism service providers often can’t compete with the high costs of promotion larger outfits put towards advertising.

So how can travellers find and share experiences more tailored to their individual interests? And how can small-to-medium tourism providers gain access to a wider audience?

Breadcrumbs is a platform where travellers can share their experiences, from the cool things they do to the places to do them and the companies making it possible, with aspiring travellers looking for inspiration and recommendations to match their interests, and service providers can advertise directly to a market with interest in their offerings. And for each experience – or ‘Crumb’ – shared, Breadcrumbs offsets a portion of travellers’ impact by planting a native tree.


CHU. Making the New Zealand road trip more sustainable

Rising accommodation prices and the appeal of freedom and flexibility lead many budget travellers to plan road trips in New Zealand. However, insufficient facilities for vehicle-based campers can negatively impact the environment and visitors’ experiences.

How can the use of recreational vehicles become a more sustainable and reliable travel option for explorers on a road trip? CHU is exploring the use of sustainable facilities for road trippers, on beautiful private rural land.


Hidden Gems NZ. Hidden gems ready to be discovered

Visitors often use Christchurch as a gateway to further travels. They arrive in Christchurch, hang around for a few hours and then move on.

But what if we could change this? What if we could prove that there’s plenty to see, if you know where to look?

Hidden Gems offers a Z-to-A catalogue of all the special spots that make Christchurch unique – from heritage sites, natural oasis in the middle of the city or gastronomic delicacies.


PowerTrip. Powering positive change

Travelling more sustainably and with less impact on the environment is fastly becoming a key incentive for many travellers. Yet some of the best ways to explore a new country can be by road trip.

So how can tourists embark on their journeys of discovery on the roads in a more environmentally-friendly fashion? PowerTrip is addressing how more sustainable transportation such as electric vehicles (EVs) can be more confidently integrated within the tourism industry, concentrating on the support network required to enhance their driving range.


Road GURU. Connecting local drivers and guides with the visitors

Driving in a foreign country can be stressful – not knowing where to turn, trying to follow road signs or find the next place of interest and all the while trying to enjoy the journey with your travel companions.

Have you ever wished you could take your eyes off the road and simply enjoy the scenery? Road GURU provides travellers with local Driver Guides and Vehicles so that they can enjoy their holiday without unnecessary stress. For drivers, Road GURU is the easiest way to market their services and spend more time focusing on guiding without worrying about the admin.


SOUTH Project. Regional Visitor Insight Dashboard

Existing data collection methods such as CAM, IVA and IVS do not provide sufficient insights to fully inform the South Island’s Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs). These RTOs require more data on three key insights: who’s visiting their region, what are they doing and how satisfied are they. This data does not currently exist, leading to missed opportunities to improve and develop existing products and services.

The SOUTH Project would like to develop a new data collection system called the Regional Visitor Insight Dashboard. This dashboard will provide data on regional tourism activity to address the aforementioned three key insights. The data will need to be collected in a consistent, cost-effective and sustainable way that can be used by all members of the SOUTH Project.


Stay Native. Eat play Stay Native

Tourist traps, cliches… sometimes overly-developed tourist areas can start to feel cookie-cutter and like experiencing things from the sidelines, rather than a unique and personal experience.

How can adventurous travellers be confident they can make real connections and explore the history and culture of a place off the beaten track?

Stay Native is concentrating on sharing authentic indigenous experiences in Aotearoa New Zealand with travellers from all over the world, with hosts from all walks of life and experiences across culture, food, places and history to make every trip unique


Tourism Ticker. News and data-driven intelligence for the tourism industry

From sales and salaries to market share and industry performance… Benchmarking across the tourism industry isn’t as transparent as it could be.

How can tourism operators working in New Zealand stay abreast of the developments affecting our biggest export earner?

Tourism Ticker is a media, data and analysis service providing insights to the tourism industry. From relevant news to profiles and data on products, people and businesses operating in the sector, the Ticker aims to help boost industry productivity by providing greater transparency and actionable data-driven intelligence.


Voluntourism, Improving regional tourism  by connecting tourists with conservation initiatives in  remote areas

MBIE’s Voluntourism Project intends to address two main issues: increasing opportunities for voluntourism and improving regional dispersal. The Project seeks to improve regional tourism dispersal by connecting tourists with conservation initiatives in remote, low-tourism areas.  

This Project has been prompted by a spike in environmental consciousness amongst international tourism as the effects of climate change become more salient and more concern is being expressed over the carbon footprint of long-distance flight travel. In addition, the voluntourism market is worth over USD$2.6 billion globally and is a rapidly growing sector. The average voluntourist spends a minimum of USD$2000 for an international environmental experience and New Zealand is uniquely placed to attract visitors to contribute towards an eco-tourism programme.

The voluntourism project is a collaboration between MBIE, Wayfare and Squawk Squad.


Big thanks to our supporters! Lightning Lab Tourism is supported by Callaghan Innovation, Christchurch International Airport, Tourism Industry Aotearoa, Centrality, ChristchurchNZ, Department of Conservation, Data Ventures, MYOB, Qrious, Amadeus, Air New Zealand, AWS, Deloitte and Simmonds Stewart.


Keen to hear more? Sign up to our mailing list and stay in the loop with all the latest news from Lightning Lab.


Comments are closed