I’m planning to attend the Into the Valley festival in Sweden next summer; my colleague, Allen Sussman, once took a road trip all the way to Olympia to see Ravens & Chimes play at the intimate Le Voyeur.
Sojernistas Kelly Dern and Allen Sussman take to Emirates Travel Hackathon
Inspired by our love of travel, and by traveling for music, Allen and I decided to build this web app at the Emirates Travel Hackathon last weekend. The Emirates Travel Hackathon was a 24-hour hack where over 300 designers and engineers gathered to build apps to bring a unique perspective to flight search. The idea was to build the perfect flight search experience for a certain persona: we chose the Music Nerd as that persona, and set out to build our app.
Music Nerds get a better concert and travel experience
The idea is simple — the user enters his/her origin airport, then the artist/genre/festival they want to see (any search term will do really), and the dates they’re available. Then we show a map of upcoming shows, complete with dates, venues, ticket prices, and links to buy flights and one or multiple concert tickets. Flights are on a matrix so you can pick flights that arrive right before the concert and leave right after, if you’re short on time, or pick flights that arrive a few days before and leave a few days after if you want to make a big trip out of it. We show flights that leave from airports near your origin airport and arrive at airports near the venue. But don’t just read my description, try it with your favorite band!
Graphic design and data join forces for FlightFest
To build this app, I employed the skills I’ve developed doing graphic design for the travel industry and Allen employed skills he’s developed coding and doing data science here at Sojern, to, for example, map from latitude/longitude to their nearest airport using the OpenFlights database and Python’s geopy package. This is a simple version of some techniques we employ on Sojern’s backend to do optimizations to say, advertise flights to JFK to people searching for hotels in Long Island.
We used the StubHub API to grab information about concerts. To do things like find nearest airports to venues and translate between local and venue timezone, we used data from OpenFlights. We used MapBox to display the map with drop pins of all the available upcoming concerts and festivals. Integrating with Kayak was essential for displaying flight options. The backend was written in Python with the Flask web framework. The front end uses Bootstrap and jQuery. We hosted the web app using Amazon Web Services, and deployed the server with gunicorn and supervisor. You can take a look at all of the code on github.
We didn’t have much time to work on the app, so right now, it’s just a skeleton, but we hope to continue working on it, improving the flow and functionality. At Sojern, we love to come up with new and innovative ideas to encourage travel.
We hope you like the app and it inspires you to finally see Justin Bieber live!
Interesting in joining our fast-paced team? Check out the careers page for our latest openings!