The winning product in the category for three developers or more at THack @ SFO last week came via Amadeus, using a dizzying array of APIs to create TVote.
TVote is an application aimed at group travel, but rather than focusing on the booking element, Amadeus's hack aims to tackle the inspiration and planning part of the problem.
So how does it work?
Using APIs from Amadeus (hotels), Vayant and Rezgo, alongside those Facebook, Google Maps, Yahoo Placefinder and the Geoplugin currency platform, TVote was created by five engineers and one UX designer coding over two weekends.
Here is how Amadeus describes it:
The app allow a Facebook user to share a list of destinations based on a theme, such as an adventure tours, scuba diving, skiing etc, with a selected of friends.
As each member views the list of possible destinations, the app automatically calculates several flight options from the user's location to each destination in the list, and selects the same hotel at the destination for all of the friends.
Each friend can then vote on their preferred destination(s), and, as the votes are tallied, the app automatically calculates the leading vote-getter.
The app also has the capability to select the Fairest Fare (least deviation from the mean) as well as the destination which is most centrally located based on the locations of each interested friend.
When the voting period ends, everyone interested gets a notification to accept the final voted winning destination. Once accepted, theusers can directly book the trip through the app or can pass it on to travel agents who will then start to get prices for group bookings.
The judges at THack loved the idea that the entire process (until the jumping off point for a booking) could be handled entirely within Facebook, arguably soon to be the natural home for the often tricky decision making process around group trips within a social circle.
The voting element was fun and actually quite helpful, with no need for long email or message threads around a group.
Adding the tour and activity element to the app was useful as it tapped in to the idea that a trip is much more about what a traveller (or group, in this case) will do in the destination, often the reason for going in the first place, rather than just what is the cheapest flight available.