DALLAS – DHISCO Inc., the world’s leading hospitality distribution company, and the Innovation Greenhouse at the University of North Texas in Denton today announced the Big Data Challenge, which will provide competing student, faculty and community teams 60 days to analyze, mine and derive insights from data supplied by the international travel company.

The data will be scrubbed of any confidential or competitive information but still will contain vast amounts of material about international hotel rates and travel and booking trends.

Prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500 will be awarded to the teams that come up with the best ideas for turning that data into insights and using it to find competitive advantages.

“At DHISCO, we are constantly looking for new ways to engage with our communities, look at new trends and investigate ways to make our travel partners’ businesses more competitive,” said DHISCO CEO Toni Portmann. “With this partnership, we can have fun while helping students learn about the travel and technology industries.”

Steven Cobb, associate dean for administrative affairs at the university’s College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Center for Economic Education, came up with the idea. “I am always interested in connecting our students with professionals,” he said. “This is a great way to engage students from a wide array of departments, from business, economics and logistics to math, marketing, computer science, finance, and technology and hospitality management.”

“We are excited to work with DHISCO to provide our students with real-world experience in mining and exploring data,” said Nancy J. Hong, executive director for the Innovation Greenhouse at UNT.  “Applying what they learn in classrooms to create economic values for the data sets will set them apart from their peers.”

Portmann will kick off the event Sept. 10 and be among the company executives who judge the entries. Winners will be announced Nov. 12. Prize categories will include the most creative solution, the idea with the greatest financial impact, best presentation, best use of tools and the best technical approach.

DHISCO provides the technology that connects hotels around the world with online travel agencies, tour operators, traditional travel agents and other travel marketers, enabling consumers and travel professionals to get the best, most accurate rates in real time. The data behind those bookings offers a wealth of insight into travel patterns around the globe.

About DHISCO Inc.

Since 1989, DHISCO Inc. has been providing innovative distribution technology to enable hotel bookings around the globe. As the single largest processor of electronic hotel transactions, the company delivers advanced connectivity and distribution solutions to over 100,000 hotels and 300-plus hotel chains in over 200 countries. DHISCO has built its reputation on providing efficient and affordable means to market, capture and book hotel reservations – moving over eight billion transactions a month.

About Innovation Greenhouse, UNT

Innovation Greenhouse at UNT provides students from across academic disciplines a place to incubate their ideas into action and create their own paths to opportunity. Students who are the next scientists, graphic artists, engineers, business leaders and writers can create, collaborate, test theories and learn from mentors. Their classroom is the entrepreneurial frontier of North Texas – home to one of the fastest-growing economies in the nation.