In order to understand how Goio, Tenerife Tourism's chatbot with artificial intelligence, works and the advantages it brings to the tourist. We interviewed Ricardo Martínez and Ana Vega, Director and Coordinator of Improvement Space of Tenerife Tourism, to know more in detail; what this technology can do for the benefit of Island Tourism.
What is Turismo de Tenerife?
Turismo de Tenerife is a public limited company that depends on the area of tourism of the Cabildo Insular de Tenerife. Initially it was created to promote abroad the values of the island to attract tourists, but throughout these almost 30 years of existence it has increased its competence or has opened new fronts such as tourism research, the improvement of the tourist area, the creation of the tourist product and other issues such as attracting investment.
Before having an AI-based chatbot like Goio, what was the role of traveler service and how was its strategic direction?
Within Tenerife Tourism, logically one of the most relevant issues is the relationship with the tourists who visit us and to provide them with the most accurate and complete information through different channels such as tourist information offices.
What have been the great challenges that Turismo de Tenerife has had to face digitally in recent years?
Well, obviously one of the biggest challenges we have faced in recent years, especially since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, is the digital transformation of the destination, and we are involved in several projects.
We have created a specific IT department for innovation and development, in search of innovative solutions for the company, and we are in a project such as the artificial intelligence plan, cybersecurity plan, helping companies to digitize; providing direct training for the destination to adapt to the new demands of its travelers, and in short we have opened many fronts, especially in the last four years, in which we have created the IT department.
How has Goio been able to contribute during this stage?
Implementing a tool like Goio, which is a virtual assistant, is one of the most innovative solutions that have been implemented on the island in terms of tourist relations.
It has allowed us to innovate in the sense of not depending on a person or a schedule, but on a virtual assistant that, using technology, can provide accurate and valuable information to tourists 365 days a year and 24 hours a day.
Why did you choose to work with Microsoft Services for the development of the Chatbot?
Being Tenerife a world leader in tourism, we obviously have to work with leading companies worldwide, in this case Microsoft, which also allows you to have solutions with a lot of flexibility, very adaptable to any circumstance, and which also allow a very fast development, that is what we valued at that time; to look for a Partner that was a leader as we aspire as a tourist destination and that facility, and that flexibility, is what has allowed us to work with Microsoft and in the case of the development of the virtual assistant.
Are you currently working with other Microsoft tools?
There are other tools such as CRM or customer relations in tour operators for which we also use Microsoft tools and that gives us a guarantee of success when communicating with the entire tourism sector.
Why did you choose Intelequia to create the Chatbot?
Logically we also want to work with leading companies to implement the technology. In this case Intelequia. A company from the Canary Islands, from Tenerife, which has extensive experience in the development of this type of systems, and which is also accredited at European and national level as a partner of the Microsoft brand; so when it came to contracting these services, we highly valued the experience and training that Intelequia's human resources had.
That is why it is important for us, as I said before, to collaborate with leading companies that can do a good job in this sense.
What learnings do you think have been acquired with the implementation of a chatbot based on artificial intelligence such as Goio? (About the Tourist, Internal Management, Strategic...)
We have learned to communicate with the tourist first hand. We are acquiring a lot of information that helps us in turn to know where we need to go or what are the issues that most interest them to put more information on that point.
Let's talk about traveler service. How can a chatbot contribute to improving the user's experience at the destination?
When the traveler is at home preparing a trip, a thousand questions arise, so this way, at any time of the day, at any time of the year, they can ask questions and they can be answered with the homogeneous information that we want to provide for a safe destination, which is what we want from our points of sale. This is very important, and above all, it handles times that a tourist informant does not handle at the destination.
For example, at the destination we also have information offices, but in this case the chatbot arrives at the origin.
During the sanitary confinement, what did the virtual assistant allow?
Well, at first the virtual assistant allowed many people to return, let's remember that there was a stop, a tourist zero, so it was a time when there were many people who were here in Tenerife and had to return to their countries of origin, so what the chatbot allowed is precisely to answer those questions to the users about which were the numbers of the consulates, which companies they had to talk to etc....
So it helped at the first moment and then when the doors were opened again, then when the confinement was over it helped to prevent with all the Covid measures, because let us remember that each country, and even each region of Spain, had certain Covid measures, so in this case it helped us a little to tell the tourist if he had to have a mask, where he had to use it, if the swimming pools were closed, open, etc...