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Hackathon and its winners demonstrate partnership model for CTO

Picture by Matt Gore: Team ‘Hardcoded’ win the overall prize from The TakeOff hackathon

Hackers at the inaugural The Take Off hackathon made group travel, ski holidays, personalisation and weekends away easier for consumers.  

The Take Off hackathon, which took place on July 7 and 8, 2016 in London, was founded by the chief technology officer (CTO) of Low Cost Travel Francesco de Marchis in association with leading technology suppliers Rackspace, Microsoft, DataArt, Intent Media and Amadeus. Two major prizes were on offer, an overall winner and an incubation prize.

Two teams from Low Cost Travel Group scooped up prizes, for customer value and finished product.  Pocket Rep, an App developed by the team from Low Cost Travel Group’s UK base, creates a red carpet treatment for customers when they are on vacation. This personalised service will both improve the enjoyment of a holiday, as well as keep the traveller informed of any disruptions, which impressed the judges enough to award it the DataArt award for most customer value.

Trip Connector, developed by the Low Cost Travel Group team from Krakow, is a group holiday tool that allows groups to build a holiday around their personal preferences until the group comes to a consensus. The Krakow team won the Most Impressive Delivery of a Finished Product award from Intent Media.

Low Cost Weekends, a new web service built by a team entered by DataArt won the £5000 overall prize for a web service that responded to the fact that 73% of travel bookings are made within three days of travel. In two days DataArt created an application that pulls in information via APIs on weather, excursions along with travel and accommodation details.

“In creating Low Cost Weekends, we wanted to inspire someone to book something they don’t know they want yet and believe the best way to do that was through personalisation. Based on last minute booking statistics, we decided to limit search to travel this weekend or next weekend.  The application was built with React Native and starts with the simple premise of asking who is travelling, single traveler, a couple, a family, or a group, and if there’s something they’re particularly in the mood for over the weekend,” David Wright, Engagement manager, Travel and Hospitality at DataArt said.

Hard Coded, a group of computer science graduates won the Take Off incubator prize of £20,000 which will see Low Cost Travel Group invest and co-develop the team’s group ski holiday App. The young team, all keen skiers, identified ways to improve group ski travel with ski holiday providers bidding for a group’s custom. The Hard Coded team from Oxford University, Finland and King’s College London also collected the Amadeus sponsored prize for Travel Technology.


Low Cost Travel Group CTO Francesco de Marchis said: “This hackathon demonstrates Low Cost Travel Group and its partners as leaders in technology. The talent and ideas generated here are exceptional and we look forward to working with individuals and organisations that create great customer centric technology solutions.”

Picture by Matt Gore: CTO Francesco de Marchis at The TakeOff hackathon he led in partnership with Rackspace, Microsoft, DataArt, Amadeus and Intent Media

World leading cloud services provider Rackspace sponsored the Best Use of Technology Award at the hackathon, won by mobile application developers Brightec, who developed a visually arresting service for smart TVs such as Apple TV.

Application pioneers Microsoft sponsored the Innovation prize, which again Brightec won.

Picture by Matt Gore: The TakeOff hackathon in central London, 2016

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About Mark Chillingworth 227 Articles
Mark Chillingworth has over 20 years of journalism and editing experience across all media platforms including online, live events, print magazines and television.
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