Australia will play host to its first THack in April, when developers will create and showcase new digital travel products and web or mobile-based tools over the course of just eight days.
The THack concept was thought up by Tnooz, a US-based global provider of news, analysis, commentary, data and business services to the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
Launched in September 2009, Tnooz focuses on technology, digital distribution, media and marketing, web strategy, start-ups and financing in the travel sector.
THack – which has been held in San Francisco, Boston, Las Vegas, London and Singapore – will have its debut in the southern hemisphere when it launches in Sydney later this year.
The first Australian THack will be held at Fishburners, a co-working space led by David Vandenberg. Tnooz co-founder and editor Kevin May is confident it will be well received.
“We have run the THack event in the US, Europe and Singapore so far, with huge success and lots of positive feedback from the travel industry,” May told StartupSmart.
“So after consulting with some people on the ground in Sydney, we decided we wanted to try it out in Australia.
“Developers get to play with some normally unavailable APIs provided exclusively for the event, containing some amazing data and product knowledge, which can be mashed together with other APIs freely available on the web. There are also prizes.
“We will be confirming prizes in the next few weeks, but we have previously had a cash prize of US$2,000 for the winning hack, plus others.”
Developers from across the travel, tourism and hospitality industry are welcome to attend, as are engineers and technicians from academic institutions and other “industry verticals”.
Over the coming weeks, Tnooz will coordinate the collection of APIs being made available to those taking part in the event.
May is quick to point out there is no selection criteria, and there is no limit on the number of spots available.
“Developers simply sign up for the event via Tnooz, and bring their creativity and enthusiasm for having a go along to the webinar-based kickoff on April 2,” he says.
“If they create a feature or product, they have the opportunity to showcase it on April 11.”
Developers will demo their efforts in front of other developers, API providers and sponsors.
The venue will also be opened up 24 hours ahead of the showcase so developers can work together, and take part in various sessions and competitions.
It’s hoped this event will be the first of many in Australia, says May, not only in Sydney but elsewhere.
“We hope it’ll be beginning of a series of THacks in the region and we’re always keen to hear of new places to host it,” he says.