Sojern Voices: Re-imagining the Travel Experience

We all have a friend who’ll travel across the world to attend a festival or see some special concert (or at least a friend’s dad who followed the Dead around for a summer).  

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.  

Wouldn’t it be great, we thought, if the music aficionado had a one-stop shop to find concerts and festivals they want to go to, and buy tickets and flights right there? Well, now they can.

Sojernistas Kelly Dern and Allen Sussman take to Emirates Travel Hackathon

The homepage for FlightFest, a web app that enables music enthusiasts to search for concerts and then book flights to get there.

The homepage for FlightFest, a web app that enables music enthusiasts to search for concerts and then book flights to get there.

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

Hackathon Day 1: Everyone hard at work...

Hackathon Day 1: Everyone hard at work…

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.

Global search for upcoming Justin Bieber shows.

Global search for upcoming Justin Bieber shows.

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!

 

Alternative Text About Kelly Dern

Kelly is a designer and illustrator who's had the opportunity to work in London, Germany, Paris and now San Francisco. Her background includes marketing design, creative direction, product design, project management, illustration, and product marketing.

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Kelly Dern About the author

Kelly is a designer and illustrator who's had the opportunity to work in London, Germany, Paris and now San Francisco. Her background includes marketing design, creative direction, product design, project management, illustration, and product marketing.



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