App linking business travellers to charities wins challenge to build technology that transforms travelTwenty-four hours of intense hacking, creative thinking and problem-solving came to a close last night as the winners of Destination Hack, Sabre Corporation’s travel hackathon in London, were announced.
Sabre, a global technology provider to the travel and tourism industry, hosted its London hackathon – powered by Sabre Dev Studio – to challenge developers around the world to create new technology and apps that could reinvent global travel. The round-the-clock coding contest resulted in a variety of new applications that have the potential to change the way people travel.
More than 150 participants from 18 different countries took part in the challenge – some as far afield as the Middle East, Africa, South America and the United States – for the chance to win the grand prize of £10,000 and for the opportunity to have their prototype recognised as an idea that could enhance the travel experience. Developers from a variety of backgrounds – from students to start-ups to those working for some of the travel industry’s biggest brands – competed relentlessly for 12 different awards that could help bring their ideas to market.
The winner of the £10,000 grand prize, Travita, is a corporate social responsibility online platform that connects business travellers that have spare baggage capacity with small charities in need around the world. Via their accounts, travellers are able to view items needed by charities in the destinations they’re travelling to. They can then opt to take these items with them on their travels, leaving them at a pick-up point for charities at the airport. The app also links with Air Miles, awarding travellers each time they participate. Travita was created by a team of four including three 19-year-old first year students from Queen Mary University, London. Sameen Islam, Kristina Semenyuk and Jaykumar Pradeep Rawal, and 35-year-old Katie Rushton, who has a background working for start-ups. The team took part in Destination Hack with their idea because “there is a real gap for a service like this in the market”.
“We chose Travita as our overall winner because it displayed the most unique use of technology that can provide a new way for frequent travellers to give back to the community,” said Greg Webb, one of five judges and President at Sabre Travel Network. “It’s something we’ve never seen before and something we believe will go a long way.” “This Hackathon was eye-opening as it clearly showed how much we still have left to accomplish in travel technology and how the APIs from Sabre and its partners allow innovation, from even small teams of entrepreneurs, to become reality so much faster than ever before,” added fellow judge, Karl Peterson, senior partner at TPG and Managing Partner, TPG Capital LLP.
“The impressive turnout and the exceptional quality of entrants we received highlights the immense talent and technological innovation that exists within today’s travel industry,” said Webb. “While we did award a variety of prizes, perhaps the best award for those that took part was witnessing first-hand the level of creativity that they were able to achieve with the help of Sabre Dev Studio.”
Developers were invited to use Sabre Dev Studio APIs, as well as other open technology provider tools, to create their prototypes.
“The possibilities for the role of technology in travel are endless, and the vibrancy and dynamism of the growing travel technology industry has never been more apparent,” continued Webb. “I’d like to thank and congratulate all of our Destination Hack participants on the success of what has been an important event for global travel.”