The President’s seal of approval at the Expedia Hackathon

Judges panel via @Expedia
The judges panel via @Expedia

Expedia Hackathon took place this week in Las Vegas, and I was happy to be able to sit in on the judging panel. Joined by Toni Portmann (DHISCO), Simon Lenoir (Rezdy), and Sara Hill (The Mill), it was an incredible experience.

Techies from around the world presented projects that utilize Expedia’s APIs, which can be used to book hotels, flights, and cars as well as communicate travel trends and things to do in a specific area. In the end, judging was based on the following criteria:

  • Implementation completeness
  • Creativity (innovation/originality)
  • Useful application of the content (business value add)
  • Application to travel industry

I was blown away by the entries that we reviewed—many from the best-of-the-best in the hospitality tech industry. It was neck-and-neck, but the top two entries to prevail came out of SmartHOTEL and Sabre Hospitality.

1st Place–SmartHOTEL

The team from SmartHOTEL took first place with SmartTRIP, an application to help guests create a multi-step package—including hotels, flights, and activities—all through one portal that offers the user multiple packages to select.

SmartTRIP tapped into the creation of the ultimate guest experience—helping travelers create customized packages based completely on their preferences. It’s a great idea that lets the guest realize everything they want in a trip, up front.

At, we see every day that experiences inspire travel for guests. They’re a huge component when it comes time to book, and this aspirational model is what continues to drive us to innovate for hotels.

2nd Place–Sabre Hospitality

The team from Sabre Hospitality took second with EVA (Expedia Voice Assistant). An application that runs on Amazon Echo, EVA offers hotel Managers a quick, unobtrusive way to get updates on the health, and promotions of their hotel by simply asking the question out loud. The team showed how revenue managers could get live updates on inventory, market share, fair share, and missed opportunities in an instant. Managers could even create simple promos based on the insight they gathered from a quick chat with EVA.

The judges loved the out-of-the-box thinking that the Sabre team brought with the Amazon Echo integration—it was really innovative and fun to see in action.

Look for a full wrap-up of the Expedia Partner Conference coming soon from the team as we return. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter for the latest updates coming out of Las Vegas!

Published by

Edward St Onge

At 22, Ed launched a SaaS product that was the first of its kind for the hospitality world. Ten years later, it was acquired by one of the largest travel software companies in the world. He’s an angel investor, board director, amateur racetrack driver, semi-professional father of two and is back at in the tech world introducing another first of its kind to the hospitality world as President of