Destination Hackathon Will Turn New Orleans Into a Petri Dish for Tourism Industry Innovation

Destination HackathonThe New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Commission (NOTMC) has teamed with Codemkrs founder Travis Laurendine and a slew of others who support the local tech scene have announced the first ever Destination Hackathon Challenge, which will use New Orleans as a petri dish for an innovation to the trillion dollar tourism industry.

The inspiration for the hackathon stemmed from the 2013 Super Bowl Hackathon experience “and also of our desire to support the growing entrepreneurial community here, which has become a beacon for visitors to come and explore our city,” said Jeremy Cooker, Director of Marketing and Special Projects at NOTMC.

“Technology has helped us market New Orleans to visitors in a number of ways that weren’t possible 10 years ago, and new apps and tools that drive inspiration – and ultimately visitation – continue to surface on a regular basis,” Cooker continued.

New Orleans was named the top U.S. travel destination by Travel and Leisure Magazine, along with countless other accolades and recognition. Nine million people visit the city annual, generating over $6 billion in revenue. The hackathon hopes to generate new ideas to help travelers have better experiences.

“The Destination Hackathon is a way to try to harness some of the tremendous brain power we have locally in the technology space to create solutions that could help improve the visitor experience. New Orleans is a relatively small city, but a world-class destination,” said Cooker We consistently rank among the best places in the world to visit, but there’s always room for improvement and growth, and we have the intellectual capital here that can help make that happen.

The no-sleep-required hackathon will take place during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), beginning at 6:00 PM on March 21st and ending at 6:00 PM on the 23rd.

The organizers and local startups and businesses are ready to ride the proposed third wave of entrepreneurship in New Orleans and hope that participants will do the same. They are seeking hackers, designers, volunteers, hustlers/growth hackers/product managers and students for the hackathon. Registration is free and available here.

Hackathon prizes are worth over $10,000, including hotel stays, concert tickets and all expenses paid dining experiences. The grand prize winner will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet with the managing director at Thayer Ventures, a VC firm that invests in technology for the hospitality industry.

Cooker says NOTMC will continue to inspire potential visitors through rich imagery and storytelling as tools. The organization is growing at an exponential rate and the hackathon will help fuel the expansion.

“As a tourism destination, New Orleans is blessed with an abundance of riches. Now we have a tech community here that is really growing, getting tremendous and well-deserved national recognition and contributing to the city in so many ways. Imagine the possibilities when you connect those two for the great good of the city. There’s just so much potential,” said Cooker.

The hope for the hackathon is that many of those bright minds may ultimately decide to relocate and set up shop here.

For more information about Destination Hackathon, visit