Recently, our team at craftworks was participating at Pioneers’ Alpine Tourism Hack. It was a 3-days event in the beautiful & legendary ski resort Engadin in Switzerland.
However, this time the reason to come to Engadin was not to snowboard or ski, but to work on innovative solutions in order to maximise the region’s potential. Sounds cool, right?
The topics of the Hackathon were quite hot & trendy:
- gamification & new media
- data analytics
Ten selected startups from all over Europe came to St. Moritz for those three days to develop new ideas, create prototypes and, of course, to connect with great people from different companies. We were lucky to be one of them.
Our team was the only one who decided to work on the two topics “chatbots” & “data analytics” because we believe that both are necessary to create the best customer experience.
Three days of total hacking:
The first evening was a get-together — informal dinner and fun activities where tech founders, investors, innovation executives, and tourism experts can get to know each other.
The second day was 24+ hours of rapid prototyping. Yeah, that was quite extreme and challenging, but at the same time also very exciting.
Nine startups, other participants and us, craftworks, were creating new ideas, brainstorming and hacking in the beautiful Swiss region of Engadin.
Finally, on the third day everyone gathered for a feedback session, a discussion of next steps to take, the closing ceremony, a wrap-up event and the jury’s decision — it was a rather full schedule.
Michael, a responsible for strategic partnerships at craftworks presented our two ideas — a dashboard predicting company’s revenue based on historical data and the chatbot “My Digital Concierge”, full of useful features for the touristic field, like booking a table in a restaurant or a ski instructor, or checking the weather and webcams. Here is our concept for the chatbot:
We were super happy to take the first place at the hackathon in the category “chatbots”. Look at our happy (and a bit tired :D) faces :
We’ve also asked some other participants to share their impressions. Here we go:
“The hackathon in the region of Engadin was a great chance to get in contact with Startups from all over Europe. The exchange between companies with a similar strategy was as enriching as the conversations with startups from complete different fields.
Hackathons are a great opportunity to keep track of new trends, train to create Prototypes in a short time and present in front of audience.”
Peter Rainer from Hotelmeister:
“The most important learning for us definitely was to see how other teams are approaching the tourism industry and it’s unique challenges. We also did a lot of networking and got some great contacts and also some valuable advices about growing our company. We have also, once again, validated our product with potential customers and we have been told that we are on the right path and that this region is facing similar technical challenges as the major Austrian tourism regions.”
Clemens from the AR-startup Insidernavigation:
“Key findings are that when you have great teams you can achieve a lot and tourism is a complicated and Industrie”.
And Michael from the VR-startup BlackCell:
“At Black Cell we are used to working with Virtual Reality, but we underestimated the impact on people, who have never tried it. Especially their reactions and feedback after trying out VR for the first time was really overwhelming. Just seeing Videos or reading about it doesn’t prepare you for the real experience.
So our key take-away from the event would be, that we need to get more out of our studio, actively showing our projects to the people, having them live this “first time moment”, before we are able to talk about anything project related.
Without that first time moment, people won’t understand, why we are so excited about VR!”
Our major takeaways:
At craftworks we believe that sharing knowledge and experience might be useful for others and that’s why we want to leave some tips regarding the chatbots & startup communities.
- One of the major understandings of how the tourism industry works differently compared to others is how customer experience always has top priority. Technical innovations are important as well, but customer experience is the main challenge in the tourism industry.
- Plenty of people are aware of chatbots, but not that many know how much you actually can achieve through this technology. So, we would suggest to concentrate on presenting the main features and explaining how the business can profit from it.
- Do your homework: take a rest before an event and don’t waste to much time on the ideation process. Thanks to our own chatbot engine we were able to develop new features quite fast. It helps us to create new conversation flows whithout interrupting the old ones.
Overall, Pioneers’ Alpine Hack was a great experience for us and we are confident it was for the other nine teams, as well. As a startup, you should be an expert in fast-paced problem-solving.
We’ve worked together with leading tourism experts to develop rapid prototypes that will define the future of tourism within the context of Chatbots, Virtual/Augmented Reality and Data Analytics.
Thanks to the all the participants, partners and the Pioneers team!
PS: Due to the amount of projects we have, we currently hire more team-members. Sounds interesting? Get in touch.