Make-a-Thon, Q1 2018 — The day we all stood impressed and inspired.

Some days are just meant to be lived. You don’t know why they are there, and yet, when you finally sit down and think about all that just passed by, you know you have caught a special memory.

The Make-a-Thon, Q1 2018 was one such event that at first caught me by surprise, then took a complete hold of me and left me totally in its awe by the time it was over. It was an exhilarating journey, a tiring exercise and a thoroughly enriching experience — all at once.

It was special.

Treebo Make-a-Thon — A special tradition in the making

While the previous edition of Make-a-Thon featured ideas revolving around Travel, this year we had the central theme as Revenue. The submitted ideas spanned technology, design, marketing, customer delight, finance, data mining and SEO, with teams having only 36 hours to turn them into reality.

And to make things even more interesting, a top prize of 1 lakh and numerous bounties worth 25K had been announced!

Bounty hunters at work during the Make-a-Thon

Make-a-Thon, Q1 2018 — As It Happened

Day 1

You could sense something important and big was happening at the company headquarters. Groups were starting to appear in the office— small, some big enough to be called a crowd. Each looked animated and you could tell they were onto something.

Day 1 of the Make-a-Thon featured many such intense discussions.

Turns out, the idea pool for the incumbent Make-a-Thon was the source of all the commotion. Several ideas based on the theme Revenue had been floated and they were making the teams and people switch to their turbo mode. All trying to put their best foot forward in a bid to come up with the most innovative way to convert these ideas into reality, inside 36 hours.

The race was ON!

Day 1 ½ (or the night in between)

Between the excitement of Day 1 and the all-important Day 2, the teams and the bounty hunters spent an entire night in the office to finish what they had started earlier in the day.

The spirited hackers all smiles at 4 am. 4 AM. Who smiles at 4 am!!

It was the night of reckoning.

It was the night ideas were brought to fruition.

It was the night of unadulterated fun as well!

There were plenty of “egg-ons” to keep the participants going. There were darts flying around, karaoke being sung, and Foosball happening.

More importantly though, it was a night of team bonding where people from varied backgrounds came together. The end result? A flurry of innovative solutions that were to become the highlights of the following day!

Day 2 (D-Day)

The day began with the tireless mercenaries of last night giving finishing touches to their projects. Admittedly, there were a few casualties too…but the overall intensity had simply refused to die!

Casualties of the intense, nightlong campaign!

Teams were well at it from early morning, preparing for the 11 am deadline when demos were to be presented.

1100 hrs: Make-a-Thon commences.

As projects and teams make appearances one after another, I can only feel amazed at the capabilities of human mind. Within 24 hours we had Treebs idea-ting and executing numerous hacks.

Winning Ideas from the Make-a-Thon

There were dozens of interesting ideas that wowed the critics and the masses alike — a brilliant hack to enable offline hotel bookings, an option of web check-in for guests, a bot that handles routine HR queries with aplomb, introduction of Treebo Gift Cards, next generation lead generation mechanism and many more!

But ultimately, four teams were considered most deserving of the top 3 cash prizes (we had to declare two winners for the third prize).

Multilingual Version of Treebo Website (Team Thanos), First Prize Winners

When talking about the next phase of internet usage growth in India, this is what Google VP of India, Rajan Anandan, had to say.

“English is over. There are only 200 million Indians who are proficient in English and they are already on the internet. 9 out of 10 new users are regional language users.” — Rajan Anandan, VP (Google India).”

Clearly, a massive change is in the offing, and it was the brilliant Team Thanos, who realized the opportunity and grabbed it with both hands. They presented the multi-lingual version of Treebo website, giving us a glimpse of what the future may look like!

Team Thanos, Winners of the Make-a-Thon Q1 2018.

Prize won: A cool 1 lakh rupees!

New sort order to drive higher revenue (Team Hounty Bunters), Second Prize Winners

The cleverly named Hounty Bunters came up with a hack to generate additional revenue for hotels by making hotels with higher intent visible to corporate users ahead of the other hotels. Price and value were the key identifiers.

This helps us reward corporate customers by showing them high value hotels upfront and helps drive better demand to some low performing hotels that are actually high value but were struggling to rank and get discovered.

Prize won: Rs. 50,000!

Demystifying Customers (Team A2T) & Treebo Talkies (Varun and Pragya), Joint Third Prize Winners

Team A2T built a mini hack that helps capture vital customer info to enhance the guest delight feature. Other by-products of this slick idea? Reduced no-shows and much more effective customer communication!

Jointly awarded the third prize, Varun and Pragya created Treebo’s first Chromecast App. With this hack, guests can now stream movies and music on their hotel TV using the Treebo app as a remote control.

Ending on a happy note

The first Make-a-Thon of 2018 was special. It brought together teams and people over a span of 36 hours to create something remarkable. That is what happens though, when you have not just “serious” talent, but “seriously committed talent” (in the words of Kadam Jeet Jain, co-founder, Treebo Hotels) at work!

Before I end this blog, here is a happy memory from the just concluded Make-a-Thon.

Until next time!

A big shout out to the organizing committee comprising Vidit, Raam, Shamanth, Aditya and Sufi. The grand success of Make-a-Thon Q1, 2018 would not have been possible without their hard work and effort!
Thank you to Thasim, Khilan and Camilla for their suggestions and contributing to the blog.