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The Digital Tourism Think Tank is pleased to announce in collaboration with Tnooz an extremely useful and innovative event, which will take place in the historic and beautiful city of Barcelona. Thack is a travel ‘hackathon’, taking place on 19th November, which will provide a unique platform for IT experts to display the useful abilities that they can offer the tourism industry.

What is a hackathon?

The uninitiated among us may wonder precisely what a ‘hackathon’ is. The answer is that hackathon events involve computer programmers, graphic and interface designers, and project managers collaborating intensively on software projects. Recent revolutions in information technology which have centred around innovations such as open APIs, cloud-based tools, and access to Big Data have ensured that developers now have ample opportunity to be creative in their efforts.

During the day’s events, skilled IT experts will work diligently to create new digital tools and products for tourism and in-destination activities. There is plenty of incentive for people to get involved in this rare and distinctive competition; the winning team will win a prize of €1,000, and be handed the opportunity to present their work at The Digital Tourism Think Tank’s ‘Digital Tourism Innovation Campus’. This prestigious industry event will take place on 21st November, and will be held in the Mobile World Centre.

There are four separate topics available for hackers to work on during the hackathon. The first one is ‘think mobile, act local’, which is very much aimed at mobile apps to be designed for travellers in Barcelona and the Catalonian region in general. The second topic is ‘travel wear’, which as the name would suggest is aimed at creating wearable apps. With Apple having just announced its first wearable device in the shape of the Apple Watch, this is likely to become a growing market in the near future.

The third category at Thack is a topic very much related to branding. ‘Personalization: cool, not creepy’ will focus on location-based applications, with a particular emphasis on data collection and social media. Finally, the fourth category in the event will be entitled ‘Wings, wheels and beyond’, and will enable hackers to come up with apps related to a wide variety of transport.

Free registration

Registrations for the event are absolutely free, and as the Digital Tourism Think Tank is expecting a very strong response from the development community, this event will be opened up to as many as 100 participants.

Although this is an excellent opportunity for developers to get their ideas noticed, it is also an event that will be of particular interest and value for the travel industry. Opportunities for travel-related businesses will be rife in such an event, as it provides new points-of-view and perspectives of digital development within the tourism industry. One can be certain to encounter a raft of creative ideas at the event, along with numerous innovative approaches to solving problems and addressing existing issues in the travel industry.

The hackathon will doubtless provide many exciting and highly useful personalised and tailored solutions. There will be a particular emphasis on the availability of Big Data, which can be used to create apps with a specific tourist emphasis.

Tnooz Hackathon Experience

Partnering with the Digital Tourism Think Tank for this event is Tnooz. This is an ideal partner for a hackathon, as the company has particularly specialised in organising such events for the travel industry in the past. Tnooz has run these events previously in all four corners of the world, in countries from the United States to China.

Tnooz recently held a Hackethal in Hangzhou, China, which involved over 100 developers working in teams of two to five people. During this event 21 of the 23 finally submitted projects were designed on mobile platforms, and there was a particular emphasis during the event on social media / travel mash-ups. The event also saw many innovative and ingenious mapping and geo-location services produced, all of which would be of great interest and use to travel-related companies, and even potentially destinations.

Among the more successful and creative projects which came to fruition in the Chinese event were a travel alert service delivered by SMS, services that used iBeacons to track either luggage or travel companions, and an HTML5 application that searched social media profile information to recommend hotels to travellers. However, the winner of this particular hackathon was a product known as Cygnus, which niftily recommends flights based on a raft of innovative personalised data including budget, travel dates and even sleeping patterns.

The continuing development of hackathons across the world, and their popularity among the tech-savvy community, indicates the degree to which people are keen to participate in creating innovative projects. The travel industry can only benefit from this phenomenon, as applications are produced that improve traveller experience, their daily lives during trips, and even apps that can help bring changes to industries when this technology is aligned with the world’s biggest travel businesses.

We very much look forward to the Barcelona event, and anticipate experiencing another selection of outstanding and innovative travel-related applications.

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