With money tight and Covid rife in the world, it’s hard for anyone to conceive of going on holiday at present – and Maire Browne knows that better than most.
The Cook Islander entrepreneur is a single mum living in New Zealand, with her job under threat. She knows all about creating memories on a tight budget.
Browne has just learned that because of Covid-19, her place of work will be restructured and she could be made redundant – so she’s decided to turn it into a positive and do something she is passionate about.
“It is about helping others and promoting my beautiful Cook Islands.”
So later this month she will launch RaroGo – a digital platform to help visitors find the best deals in Cook Islands, when the border eventually opens. And as a social enterprise, they pledge to donate 10 per cent of profits to Te Are Manu veterinary clinic.
“Being the type of person, I am, I am always trying to be innovative and am a self-confessed lover of problem solving,” she said.
“If not straight away, there is no denying the Cook Islands will be one of the first countries to form a travel bridge with New Zealand.”
They have already started promoting a handful of local businesses. She will start with “buy now, enjoy later” deals, offering discounts if people book ahead.
“I realise the idea of a digital marketing platform may be new and scary to some – but having worked for a media company for nearly 10 years now, I know the importance of being relevant and remaining open-minded to new advancement. Basically keeping your finger on the pulse!”
RaroGo does not charge a commission on sales made via their platform, but they charge advertisers a “very affordable” monthly marketing admin fee.
“It’s less than paying for two coffees a day,” says Browne. “This is not about being the next Raro millionaire, it is about offering an affordable service while also ensuring RaroGo's longevity.”
How did she come up with the name RaroGo?
“A play on words,” she says.
“I also like how ‘Raro" means down – so to me the name it has more than one connotation, it can mean literally "Going to Raro" or it could also mean "All the prices have gone DOWN if you check out the deals on RaroGO.
“The efficiency of using RaroGo as a ’one stop Raro shop’ to search for deals was also important to me, especially in this day and age of where time is of the essence.”
RaroGo is on Facebook and Instagram @rarogodeals, or email email@example.com.