Ideas flowed at the first THack Sydney yesterday. It brought together around 50 travel tech tragics who saw seven teams present their hacks at at the co-op work space Fishburners. Most of the hacks addressed either of two “problems” – 1) multi-model travel or 2) mobile travel assistance. All of the hacks had merit but of course it was a competition so the judges had to choose two winners.

The Flight Centre team won the best hack for a team of three or more with their iOS app ‘NowWhat?’ while late entrants Michael Cameron and Kevin Lippy took out the small team award for ‘TheFestWay.com’.

Both winners stood out through a clear vision and, crucially, having a point of difference or unique selling proposition.

In the case of NowWhat? – which suggests things to do – that was a ‘scenario based algorithm’ that provides results based on factors such as consumers ratings, time and weather in addition to that old fallback, location.

NowWhat? also looked great with a clean, logical design – polished yet functional. Almost ready to go.

Perhaps that was a reflection of the team’s composition, which mixed marketing, design and tech, rather than just having a pure technical focus.

It used APIs from Jeppesen, Rome2Rio, Expedia, ATDW and Viator.

The other winner, TheFestWay.com, was less polished due to the fact it was pulled together in less than a day, but neatly effective and based on a good idea

It  allows users to search for festivals based on personal interest then provides a map and instructions instructions on how to get there.

The concept had been bubbling away in developer Michael Cameron’s brain ever since he turned up in Ghent the day after a massive festival a few years ago.

All he saw was rubbish rather than people having fun.

“I was so disappointed,” he said.

Not any more.

Like the Flight Centre boys, he and Kevin Lippy walked away with $2000 for their hack, which used the ATDW and Rome2Rio APIs.

Congratulations are also due to the other teams including those from Tramada, Amadeus (x2) and TripCommon, plus a couple of independents.

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