Google, TripAdvisor and Airbnb join ‘Destino Hack Summit’
SAN JUAN – A destination-innovation conference, sponsor expo and weekend-long hackathon slated for Oct. 5-7 in San Juan will unite industry experts, entrepreneurs, government officials and students to develop solutions and apps that will help improve Puerto Rico’s destination experience and boost the local economy.
Regional executives of technology and tourism companies such as Google, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Skift, the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. and Discover Puerto Rico will present future trends, best practices and business opportunities as part of a “destination-hack” summit.
Among the speakers for the conference are Carla Campos, executive director of the Tourism Co. of Puerto Rico; Leah Chandler, director of marketing at Discover Puerto Rico; Liz Mabe, director of digital marketing at Discover Puerto Rico; Giovanni Stella, Google manager for Colombia, Central America and the Caribbean; Alejandro Rico, group head of Google for Central America and the Caribbean; Steven Paganelli, director of destination marketing for America at TripAdvisor; Carlos Muñoz, leader of Political and Government Affairs of Central America and the Caribbean of Airbnb; Sean O’Neill, travel editor for Skift; and Nate Huff, senior vice president of Miles Partnerships Brand USA.
For her part, Annie Mayol, president and COO of Foundation for Puerto Rico, said that “to keep our country relevant, competitive and at the forefront, it is necessary to promote emerging technologies that attract visitors to our unique experiences, products and services. The world has to know what we offer. This conference will help us understand global best practices, develop partnerships and accelerate innovation in the visitor’s economy. ”
The visitor’s economy includes all direct, indirect or inferred economic activity related to the visit of a person or group. It encompasses experiences such as cultural, gastronomic, ecological, educational, sports and medical tourism.
Hackers will collaborate in finding solutions to the technological problems presented by the visitor economy with help from Foundation for Puerto Rico, which will share access to its database of more than 8,000 points of interest in Puerto Rico, ViewPR.
The Destination Innovation Conference will be held Oct. 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Puerto Rico Museum of Art, and will feature global tech speakers, industry reaction panels, sponsor expo and networking activities.
The hackathon, or computer programming marathon, will run from Oct. 6, from 8:30 a.m. to Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. at Foundation for Puerto Rico–which fosters social and economic development mainly by promoting the visitor’s economy–and will gather approximately 120 hackers and 30 industry mentors who will work continuously for 30 hours to develop solutions for the visitor economy. Cash prizes and destination experiences will be given to the teams that deliver the best solutions.
The objectives of the event are to:
1. Accelerate Industry Innovation and Develop New Products & Services.
2. Improve Visitor Experience by Using Emerging Technologies.
3. Promote Destination Partnerships & Innovative Multi-Sector Alliances.
4. Showcase Puerto Rico’s Brand and Boost the Local Visitor Economy.
Destination Hack was organized in partnership with shareholders of the tourism and technology industry. Some of the collaborators include the Tourism Co., Amgen, Google, TripAdvisor, Discover Puerto Rico, Cable & Wireless, Link Puerto Rico and Skift.