NewsUniversity of Applied Sciences Upper Austria

Hackathon on "Travel Agency of the Future" at FH Upper Austria Wels Campus

On behalf of the Upper Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKOÖ), a hackathon on the topic of "Travel Agency of the Future" recently took place at the FH Upper Austria Wels Campus, in which students worked in groups to find solutions to the major challenges the travel industry is facing. The internationally staffed winning team "MZ Trips" finally received the travel voucher of in the amount of 1,200 € - provided by the WKOÖ Fachgruppe Reisebüros and the sab-reisen travel agencies.

In the past, travel destinations were advertised with large posters on the shop windows of travel agencies. Today, it is often an influencer on Instagram or a travel blogger on YouTube who inspires us for our next vacation. In addition, topics such as digitalization but also the climate crisis are shaping current travel behavior. The specialist group of travel agencies of the WKOÖ now set the students at the Wels Campus the task "What offers should travel agencies provide for young customers (18 - 30 years) in the future?".

Hackathons enable the use of creative skills

The Institute for Agile Transformation at the FH Upper Austria Wels Campus organized a hackathon with students from various degree programmes, who worked on possible solutions in a three-day event together with coaches and experts* from the FH Upper Austria. In this way, the creative skills of Generation Z could be used to develop new ideas. A total of 14 teams with 4-5 participants each took up the challenge.

Organizer Kristiana Roth from FH Upper Austria Wels Campus sees the Hackathon format as an opportunity for companies to understand customer challenges and develop new and innovative ideas in a short period of time without spending a lot of resources. "For students, it allows to strengthen not only their technical skills, but also their ability to work in teams, plan projects and communicate their ideas."

Jury consisted of experts from WKOÖ's travel agency division and WKOÖ Innovation Management.

The top-class jury was impressed by the variety of ideas and after long discussions awarded the team "MZ Trips" for its presentation.

"What excited us about the project was that new ideas were presented and needs were addressed that we as tourism professionals were not even aware of before. The involvement of the young students gives us a completely new perspective on current challenges," says section chairman Werner Mader, convinced of the hackathon's output.

A platform for collaborative communication in travel planning

The international team "MZ Trips", consisting of Ignacio Revoredo from Argentina, Katharina Beer from Austria, Yazeed Haddadin from Jordan and Pedro Martin Sekine from Brazil, developed a concept for a platform on which youth groups can plan their trips and collaborate interactively. As a result, all members of the group are at the same level of knowledge, can access uploaded documents, and are supported in parallel by a travel agent online.

"The hackathon was a unique opportunity to apply the knowledge we learned in our studies in a multidisciplinary environment," Ignácio is enthusiastic about the experience. Yazeed emphasizes the interaction of the different skills: "This allowed us to find a solution in a short time. Thanks to the organizers for the professional support and the pleasant working atmosphere and the experts for evaluating the ideas."

More ideas to be pursued

The decision as to which of the teams should be chosen as the winner was not easy for the jury given the numerous high-quality approaches to the solution. In addition to awarding the "MZ Trips" concept, another concept was also highlighted: A talent platform for internships abroad, from which domestic companies as well as the young target group could benefit.

Unique training, event and collaboration formats

The Institute for Agile Transformation aims to be the leading institution in the field of agile transformation. With our academic expertise, unique training, event and collaboration formats we support organizations on their agile transformation journey.

For information on the Institute for Agile Transformation, interested parties can visit www.iat-fhooe.at