A weekend of hacks for team Skyscanner

Skyscanner's API was in action this weekend at THack Berlin, alongside APIs from Homeaway and Berlin based start-up Xapix.io.

The 24 hour Tnooz hack produced some fantastic results from the attending developer teams. Highlights included:

  • A travel inspiration mobile app by Power Rangers that used music from Spotify and presented air and apartment rental choices from Skyscanner and HomeAway (using the XapiX tool for API endpoints)
  • In-flight app by Groundscanner that linked a passenger’s device to cities, points of interest, accommodations and other information under the plane’s flight path (also using XapiX)
  • Halfway, social-mobile app flight-accommodation suggestions for couples living apart to meet at midpoint locations with equal flight times
  • A local events finder by Travel Genius implemented with natural language search on Amazon’s Echo device
  • Who Dat Girl’s clever use of a mobile messenger app to create a travel “assistant” that implements Skyscanner, HomeAway, Telegram, XapiX-emulated TripAdvisor reviews and Google Maps; all of the APIs were connected by XapiX directly to API endpoints.
  • A nifty mobile-first app by DataArt for group communications about combined business-leisure trips; the mobile app connected to a mobile web application that used a bot to gather group flight and accommodation booking details for hassled travel planners inside a company

You can read more about then event and highlight on Tnooz

Elsewhere a team of budding developers and project managers from our Skyscanner Miami office participated in an entirely different hacker event, 'Hack for Good'.


Last weekend Refresh Miami teamed up with Wyncode Academy and Code for Miami to host its first annual Hack-For-Good event, pairing local nonprofits with the top tech talent in Miami to come up with technical solutions to their biggest challenges. Here at Skyscanner we focus on solving the problems that live in travel and with that problem solving experience, we decided to get a team together from the Miami office and join the Miami tech community to find solutions to local community problems.

The hackathon took place at The LAB Miami, giving participants just 24-hours to build real tools that could help nonprofits make an even bigger impact on the lives of Miami residents. 

How the Hackathon worked?

On Friday evening the Skyscanner team gathered at the LAB for an official welcome event, including formal nonprofit presentations that introduced the participating organizations' problem areas. After just an hour to consult with all nonprofits, each team made their selection based on where they felt they could make the most impact.

The hackathon took place at The LAB Miami, giving participants just 24-hours to build real tools that could help nonprofits make an even bigger impact on the lives of Miami residents. 


What was the problem?

The Skyscanner team chose Miami Dade Animal Services as the local nonprofit they wanted to Hack for Good. Miami Dade Animal Services receives about 30,000 cats and dogs every year and need to maintain or exceed our 90% save rate. Lack of awareness, a constant barrage of negative cyberbullying on social media (which fuels negative perceptions of the shelter) and limited resource all contribute to driving people away from the chance to save a pet's life.

What was the approach?

At Skyscanner, employees follow an internet economy mindset, which encourages  'starting with the why'. With this question always at the center of the team's approach, they were able to ensure that they understood the core problem that the Miami Dade Animal Services were facing, and then review all potential solutions. 

To make the most impact, the team addressed their biggest problem, realizing that by addressing the negative commentary on social media, there would also be a positive impact of the save rate, people resource and awareness of the great work being done by Miami Dade Animal Services.

What was the solution?

Skyscanner built a service that connects to the Facebook Graph API to find posts, comments or events relating to the Shelter, passes them to a questioning answering system called IBM Watson. IBM Watson was able to provide sentiment analysis and return a JSON file. They could then determine which negative elements were important enough to alert the Animal Services team about by pushing it to a Slack channel.

 The social media sentiment analysis allows for quick action on negative messages, reducing the impact on the Shelters reputation and automates social media monitoring, reducing the resource overhead. The tool is Open Source and most importantly its impactful and free to implement.


Interested in hearing more about the Skyscanner API? Get in touch with us today to get started!