Hack the Journey: the next big thing in travel tech

Fran Romero

Head of Open Innovation Programs, Amadeus

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For more than 30 years, Amadeus has been providing the technology that keeps the travel industry moving. As the business evolves, new challenges and opportunities arise for our people to build smarter solutions that can deliver more personalized experiences to travelers, ultimately benefiting our customers.

In line with this strategy, Amadeus recently organized its first online hackathon under the name Hack the Journey. The goal? To foster open innovation and collaboration across the developer community worldwide, enabling us to test and quickly develop new business ideas.

The hackathon was organized by Amadeus for Developers, a global platform that grants access to travel data and functionalities across the full traveler journey. It provides different offerings customized to the needs of travel conglomerates, startups and innovators.

For this edition, participants were asked to think about the one thing they would change about travel and that’s how we got 264 developers, entrepreneurs, designers and product professionals from 27 countries to submit their most innovative ideas to disrupt the travel industry.

Competing for more than US$10,000 worth of prizes, and the opportunity to be promoted via Amadeus channels, participants were dared to unlock new use cases and build working prototypes – with the potential to become real products – which would ultimately deliver a more personalized and frictionless experience for travelers worldwide.

Contestants were asked to push the boundaries of technology and that they did. Powered by technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, coupled with Amadeus’ Self-Service APIs, we received a total of 19 remarkable submissions.

Some of these included facial recognition for checking in, a voice assistant for search inspiration, and a search solution to help travelers find the most suitable destination.

The winner of this edition of Hack the Journey is Boolah! Derived from a Fijian word, bula, meaning life, this intelligent travel itinerary generator allows users to easily select different points of interest presented to provide inspiration. By simply swiping left and right, it builds comprehensive, personalized trip itineraries based on the travelers’ preferences and the distances between places. Designed by Royce Raju Beena from India, this app optimizes the quality and number of points of interest covered at a destination and gives its users the cheapest round-trip fares, peak travel months and local language translations.

The second prize went to the UK-based Anna Maguire for her inspiration search engine: Tripee. This app helps travelers find common destinations from two or more origins and selects the optimal location for them to meet as well as the best flight deals for all travelers to get there.

Lastly, the popular choice award went to Terra. Built by a team of five developers and designers from Russia, this mobile solution applies gamification to the way travelers walk within their travel destinations, so that they can discover potential points of interest.

All ideas were judged based on their technical and business value as well as the degree of innovation. The hackathon showcased how Amadeus for Developers’ Self-Service APIs make it easy (and fast) for developers to implement Amadeus’ data and functionalities into their applications. And we will continue to evaluate winning solutions such as these to identify potential opportunities that can help innovators take their ideas to the next level.

I can hardly think of a better way to discover the next best thing in travel tech than a hackathon – a chance for inspired tech developers to come together and create solutions that could ultimately change the way we travel. I am thrilled that our open innovation program is helping foster greater and more dynamic collaboration across the travel industry. And stay tuned: we will be releasing new innovative solutions, including new APIs and predictive Machine Learning models, over the coming months!