Pictured: Grand prize winning team Travita
A start-up that helps travellers use spare baggage capacity on flights for good causes won the 24-hour Sabre Destination Hack hackathon held in London at the weekend.
The event, hosted by Sabre’s Dev Studio, saw 39 developer teams take part in the challenge, including some from the Middle East, the US and even Bolivia.
Entrants ranged from students to start-ups to major global brands, all were challenged to design new technology or apps that have the capability of reinventing global travel.
The grand prize of £10,000 went to Travita that connects business travellers that have spare baggage capacity with small charities in need around the world.
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 Sameen Islam, Kristina Semenyuk and Jaykumar Pradeep Rawal, all 19-year-old first year students from Queen Mary University, and 35-year-old Katie Rushton, who has a background working for start-ups.
Greg Webb, one of five judges and president at Sabre Travel Network, said: “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.
“It’s something we’ve never seen before and something we believe will go a long way.”
Fellow judge, Karl Peterson, senior partner at TPG and managing partner, TPG Capital LLP, added:
“This Hackathon was eye-opening as it clearly showed how much we still have left to accomplish in travel technology and how the API’s from Sabre and its partners allows innovation, from even small teams of entrepreneurs, to become reality so much faster than ever before.”
Destination Hack also awarded several other prizes to outstanding applications:
• People’s Choice – £1,000 (from Sabre) – Awarded to Safe Destination, which alerts travellers on the safety of destinations based on real-time information from social media
• Best Wearable Hack – £1,000 (from Sabre) – Awarded to Further, an app that lets users book travel experiences based on advice from locals
• Best Use of TripCase APIs – £1,500 (from Sabre’s TripCase) – Awarded to Travita
• Best Twilio Implementation – Raspberry Pi 2 for each team member (from Twilio) – Awarded to OhSeat!, which helps air passengers select the seats they want before they buy them
• Most Potential – £500 plus one week of acceleration in Bordeaux, France for the entire team (worth £7,000, from 33 Entrepreneurs) – Awarded to IkarVRs, which offers inflight virtual reality experiences that can lead to sales of ancillaries
• Most Likely to Succeed – £500 plus free API access, support, co-working space, marketing (from Sabre) – Awarded to Further
• Most Innovative Use of GetYourGuide API – £100 voucher for each member to use on any GetYourGuide products (from GetYourGuide) – Awarded to Curated, which enables users to book travel based on recommendations from friends
• Best Use of GIATA API – Weekend for two in Berlin (from GIATA) – Awarded to Hotel Splitter, which enables consumers to book multiple hotels
• Customers Choice Challenge – multi-modal trips – £1,000 – Awarded to two winners Route 99 and Waynaut, which both enable door-to-door travel booking
• Best use of the SeatGuru API – £650 (SeatGuru by TripAdvisor) – Awarded to OhSeat!
• Virtual Reality Vision Award – Oculus Rift SDK2 + featured in Timelooper (Timelooper) – Awarded to IkarVRs
“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.”
Developers were invited to use Sabre Dev Studio APIs, as well as other open technology provider tools, to create their prototypes.
Webb added: “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.
“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.”