The Destination Hack arrives in Singapore

We’re only about a month away from our annual global hackathon! This year’s Destination Hack takes place in Singapore at Impact Hub from October 14th to 16th. Not only is Singapore a world-class city, but it’s also on the forefront of emerging technology. Companies large and small take advantage of the city-state’s prime location nestled between Asia and Australia.

We at Sabre Dev Studio thrive off of these events. Hackathons are an excellent opportunity to see the potential of the solutions we create every day. We’re passionate about APIs and delivering the means to an end for developers and companies of all sizes. So it’s incredible to see teams put their heads together to create the latest and greatest innovations in travel tech. And in such a short window!

As we approach the event, we’ve identified 5 hacks that we’d love to see at this year’s hack. Here are five key pieces of the today’s travel puzzle that should make for some compelling projects. And whether you follow one of these paths, or blaze an entirely different one, one thing is for sure: you’ll have a lot of fun doing it!

#1: Voice interface solutions

With the advent of products such as the Amazon Echo, we see tremendous potential in the future of voice interfaces within travel technology applications. As a result, it would be amazing to see what sort of innovation could be created around this model.

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Amazon recently paired the Dot with its Echo speaker, extending the voice activation even further.

Even more relevant, Apple has recently announced that they’re opening up the Siri API with iOS 10. This sort of innovation could reach across both consumer and business segments, from air shopping and booking to even business management. Imagine simply booking a flight to Barcelona with Siri or a hotel manager checking property inventory. All of these use cases are quite possible, and not just on Android. Whether its Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Now or Microsoft’s Cortana, voice is a critical interface in travel for the next five years.

#2: Chatbots

Recent trends suggest that chatbots will dominate social media. We’re starting to see numerous businesses and brands use them (Taco Bell with their “tacobot” for example, or the many ways being used in travel).

The impact of chatbots could be huge within the travel industry. As explained by Sabre’s Chief Scientist Ben Vinod in an article on chatbots in travel, there are competing demands that must be prioritized.

“Travel technology brands must understand their customer touchpoints and expectations. Only then can they prioritize resources efficiently. And as technology evolves, a regular reprioritization is required. This process keeps the product road map pointing towards current and emerging traveler preferences.”

Incorporating chatbots within Facebook Messenger for example, could make searching for travel options easier than ever before. Imagine using a chatbot to book a flight from DFW to SFO while in the passenger seat of a friend’s car. This could also impact goods and services. Airlines could use it to add on ancillary services or hotels or rental car companies could use it for reservations and upgrades.

#3: Augmented reality apps

We all know the Pokemon GO craze is/was huge. Sabre Insights even covered the travel industry implications of the game’s augmented reality technology.  The app basically took the world by storm. (Just don’t play it while driving)! Now while augmented reality is  great when it comes to games and entertainment, it could be even more instrumental in shaping the future of travel.

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“Hyper reality” featured heavily in this provocative film on the future of AR

One instance where it could be particularly useful could be for translation capabilities. Anyone who’s ever travelled abroad knows how overwhelming it can be when you’re out of your comfort zone. Adopting translations services within augmented reality could save valuable time and would certainly enhance the overall experience.

Of course, it doesn’t just have to be limited to translation, as this sort of technology could enhance the travel experience within shopping, dining, travel booking, and beyond. Imagine an interactive map that showcases Easter eggs to add value to a traveler’s experience while keeping an aesthetic intact. Brilliant!

#4: Virtual reality apps

We can’t have an emerging travel tech discussion without mentioning virtual reality. VR allows the user to feel like they’re immersed in an area. Although experiencing it from afar, virtual reality gives a true taste of what a destination may be.

Imagine shopping for travel and having the ability to see your seat map on an airplane, or to get an ultimate interactive tour or a hotel or touristy area. As VR becomes more accessible, this means more travelers can utilize this technology to influence purchase decisions.

And with driverless cars poised to revolutionize transportation, there could be many more hours in the average commuter’s week. Media and inspiration will step into this gap. The question is: How does travel fit into this space?

#5: Inspirational shopping apps

One of the more recent trends we’ve seen is inspirational shopping. Our own team worked on a concept preference-driven airfare shopping app, which you can see here on the Innovation Hub. The idea is to provide more control to the user to customize search results based on a series of nuanced preferences.

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The preference-driven air shopping app on Sabre Innovation Hub

It’s one thing to just book a vacation, but if an app or website is able to help provide guidance, it changes the search and inspiration experience.

Maybe a traveler wants a beach vacation but isn’t sure where in the world they’d want to go. Creating inspirational shopping apps may not only help them find an ideal beach, but it may allow them to sort by seasonality, destination and price. Suddenly, what once might have been a simple trip to Miami may become a weekend in Phuket at a gorgeous resort.

Sometimes, the best way to facilitate travel is to inspire. You can help create experiences for the traveler that go beyond normal trip itineraries.

Join us in Singapore!

These are just some of the hacks we’d love to see at this year’s Singapore hackathon! Space is still open but filling fast, so we’d suggest registering as soon as possible! Can’t wait to see everyone in Singapore. You can’t beat a collection of the brightest minds all under one roof coupled with the newest innovations in travel technology. See you there!

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