Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Kiwi students' ingenuity sees them really going places

Team Qwace will fly to Paris next month for the final round of the International Accor Hotels Take Off! Competition. Photo / Thinkstock
Team Qwace will fly to Paris next month for the final round of the International Accor Hotels Take Off! Competition. Photo / Thinkstock

An app concept that lets travellers plan, book and pay for a holiday tailored to their age, preferences and mood has earned four Kiwi students a trip of their own - to France.

Queenstown Resort College students William Clarke, 19, and Harry Greig, Jesse Raroa-Ward and Willow Lewis, all 20, were selected from more than 300 groups of international competitors as top-five finalists.

They will fly to Paris next month for the final round of the International Accor Hotels Take Off! competition that asked entrants to look at how mobile technologies will transform the hospitality industry and the experience of customers.

Called Team Qwace, the second-year students made it through three rounds of the competition and are the only team in the Southern Hemisphere to make the finals.

Mr Greig said the concept tried to offer what existing apps did not.

"There is so much that's been done but we wanted to focus on how we can improve people's experiences based on who they are," he said.

The app allows users to upload their personal preferences and will offer suggestions based on age, location, mood and a person's history. It also serves as a booking and payment service, map, key card, notification system and chat service.

Queenstown Resort College chief executive Charlie Phillips said the achievement is a result of Kiwi ingenuity and teamwork and showed studying tourism and hospitality can lead to big opportunities.

"This group did this all under their own steam, we didn't give them any ideas."

Team Qwace will compete against finalists from Switzerland, Thailand, Nigeria and Spain in the final round - a mystery challenge.

The winning prize is a trip to a European destination of their choice.

How it works

Create a personal profile.
Upload your preferences.
Receive personalised travel advice.
Make and pay for reservations and transfers.
Navigate using the map function.
Automatic notification of your arrival with service providers.
Electronic key card service.
Travel recommendations based on your history, mood and location.
Live chat with concierge.

- NZ Herald

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