Treebo Make-a-thon 2017: Innovation meets Imagination
I’m buzzing with energy! And I can feel it around me. People were busy creating teams, drawing up plans and getting set for one of the most exciting events at Treebo. We thrive on challenges and look for days when everything is a blur and we’re pushed into a time warp. Like a 36 hour sprint of new ideas. The fact that it gives life to some industry revolutionizing products is just an *ahem added advantage. You call it hackathons or codecamps. We call it Make-a-thon.
Welcome to the Treebo Make-a-Thon. Our third one in two years.
Make-A-Thon gives us autonomy with only a theme being prescribed. This time around, it was ‘Travel’. We were free to identify opportunities or obstacles to come up with innovations or hacks around it. The event gained full momentum with a keynote by Amod Malviya, the co-founder of Udaan and ex-CTO of Flipkart. During the course of his interaction, Mr. Malviya cited examples from his personal experience with codecamps and how some of the greatest ideas are born there.
A lot of ideas generated during the 36-hour non-stop coding frenzy revolved around Travel with a few very specific to Treebo. At the end of the it, each team condensed their ideas into a 3–5 minute live demo. There were bounties to be won (how does 25k in cash sound?) and we were excited!
Some brilliant projects were showcased. A very interesting augmented reality experience that educated the user about Treebo and our brand standards gave us glimpse of what the future could hold. This and an NLP based unstructured email parser that can automatically extract customer details to make a booking from an unstructured email were sure to be big hits in the customer experience realm.
We also developed an ePOS signature system on Bumblebee (An in-house centralised Property Management System) that collects signatures as a process of sending proof of stay for corporate travellers.
When Data Scientists and Engineers meet.
The Data Works team built Psychological Triggers by mining guest reviews and other publicly available data around pricing. They implemented two kinds of triggers which guests can see when they are on the hotel details page. With this, customers will get an insider’s view of what previous guests have liked about the hotel and how this particular property fits them.
The team impressed our judges and secured first place by running their algorithm on a big data set that they scanned live during the Make-A-Thon to show how their innovation works.
Tell me a story, Alexa.
Team Jarvis realised the value a virtual personal assistant can add and created an Alexa skill for interacting with the hotel. The next time you want extra mayo in your sandwich, or want to check out what’s happening around your Treebo, a voice based virtual assistant will get you going. Implementing this will make Treebo the first Indian hotel chain to be on Alexa.
We could feel the energy.
We also had our share of fun during the 36-hour Make-a-thon which included games, karaoke and lots of food. What better way for noobs to bond with the oldies than over Code and Redbull. The overall energy was infectious.
So that’s that. 36 hours just flew by. And we can’t wait for the next one. Rumour has it that some of the teams are already sure of what they will be gunning for next time.