Did you know that in June 1999, the first-ever recorded hackathon was held? Within a week, a group of developers proved just how successful humans can be when uniting talent to collaborate on a joint mission. While hackathons have evolved in those 20 years, the intention remains the same.

At American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), we know that fostering innovative ideas is the only way we can move ahead as an industry, which is why we began hosting our own hackathon event four years ago.

Whether through proprietary tools or partners with cutting-edge technologies, we are focused on being innovative leaders in the corporate travel industry, and the hackathon helps us to turn imaginative ideas into tangible results that will benefit you.

For example, through KDS, a company we acquired in 2016, we have an award-winning booking tool that harnesses artificial intelligence to create a customized journey for travelers. We have built a special benchmarking solution that measures 40 KPIs, including traveler well-being. And behind it all is our sophisticated Core Technology Platform, which brings together trip data, traveler profile, and content options to enable consistent experiences across all our products and third-party integrations.

The GBT hackathon is open to all GBT employees, and we anticipate more than two dozen teams will enter this year’s event, all focused on solving real-time business travel issues:

  • Devising solutions that improve the ‘bleisure’ experience for travelers.
  • Creating better business travel experiences for growth and medium enterprises.
  • Creating solutions to see hyper-automation throughout the end-to-end business travel experience.
  • Anticipating emerging technologies that will gain broader adoption in corporate travel within the next 12 to 18 months.

Over the next few months, teams across the world will start working on prototypes, models and presentations, to create a high-quality demonstration, before presenting to a panel of judges.