The Startup Pixtri from the Vienna University of Technology – E-Commerce Group won the 1st place at the ENTER Conference 2013 for its significant contribution to the growth and success of technology adoption, integration, or use in the tourism industry.
Based on extensive scientific and practical preparatory work, the core functionality of PixMeAway comprises an image-based search and recommendation engine in the tourism sector.
Imagine you want to go on vacation, but yet, you do not know exactly where you want to go or what kind of trip you want to take? In such a case you might query different search engines in the Web by entering text-based search criteria. But what should you enter, if you do not know your travel desires in advance? It follows, that a part of such “un-decided” users enter rough keywords of their trip imaginations, which results in a big amount of “non-classified” information. The other part of these users consults offline tourist agencies to get inspired by professionals. Those professionals mostly work with pictures of travel destinations to find out the hidden desires of their customers in order to be able to suggest a trip. PixMeAway does almost the same online, finds out the user’s travel type via pictures and suggests point of interests, activities, tours or regions.
The platform www.pixmeaway.com works as follows. A user selects the images that particularly attract him or inspire him. The system calculates a certain “tourist matrix” of the user, which comprises seven pre-defined travel factors (these factors are a mixture of travel types and personality types based on scientific standards). By the use of this profile the system recommends appropriate touristic objects.
Technically, the solution is based on a sophisticated recommender system in combination with an administrative backend interface for Points of Interest (places with high tourist attraction) and a module for travel planning. Furthermore, the platform incorporates aspects from social media communities to share trips/destinations/activities/etc. with other users.