Wherewolf takes a bite at tourism

GRANT BRYANT
Last updated 11:12 05/09/2013
Southland Times photo
GRANT BRYANT/Fairfax NZ

Wherewolf directors Wulf Solter, left, and Ben Calder on Queenstown's waterfront. The paperless check-in software has taken off in New Zealand's adventure capital, Queenstown.

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A Queenstown-based company has developed software to eradicate one of travel's biggest hassles.

Known as Wherewolf, the new software replaces paper check-ins and clipboard waiver forms with touchscreen technology, gathering and collating vital business information while reducing check-ins to a 45-second maximum.

It has already gained traction with Queenstown's customer service-savvy business community, and generated national media coverage.

Wherewolf co-director Ben Calder's Big Night Out bar crawl business launched in Queenstown in 2007, then Dunedin and Auckland - creating a busy environment that became the birthplace of Wherewolf.

''In the years leading up to Wherewolf, the bar crawl companies manually, via clipboard and A4, would have checked in more than 60,000 customers.''

''Among all that information that people scrawled out on all those pages, was a pattern to where we put our marketing spend,'' he said. 

''But transferring it into a program, to then have to break it all down and translate it into valuable business information equates to employing someone just for data entry, then having to analyse it.

All that paperwork is terribly clunky - but a business just can't do without that info.''

In December Calder teamed up with programmer Wulf Solter.

Once Solter, 32, created the first platform, he was so thrilled with commercialising the idea, he spent Christmas Day writing Wherewolf's primary code on a Nelson beach. 

Wherewolf had its first sale in March and since April has employed a team of eight, selling packages to more than 30 businesses.

However, its scope is not limited to adventure tourism.

Solter, who had to undergo extensive rehabilitation after a major mountain bike crash in 2011, is a big proponent of Wherewolf's use in the medical field.

''The platform is so flexible that we want to incorporate packages tailor-made for practitioners in the medical, sports treatment, and dentistry realm. If patients have an existing heart condition, get a new injury from falling off a bike or a snowboard, or have a bad tooth that needs checking in two months, that is entered on their profile history and the practitioner has an automatic steer when the patient next checks in for future treatment.''

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