For a bit of fun, we set ourselves a challenge last week: Can we take some of the travel tips our Top 5 Guides are full of, and make them accessible via a chatbot? We wanted to be able to do it as quickly as possible, with minimal fuss but still create something that might be useful for people AND be a learning experience for us.
With that in mind, I took on the task. I didn’t want to go down the route of building something from scratch and I didn’t want to over complicate matters. So I decided on a single task: Take some existing content and make it accessible via a "very-easy-to-use" chatbot, preferably available to a wide, general audience. And I wanted to do it in an afternoon.
So I spent an hour or so checking to see if there were any SaaS platforms available that would enable me to build the logic behind a chatbot without too much coding. There are a few out there and I eventually settled on FlowXO for a number of reasons, including a free starter option, the ability to branch on conditions, ease of integration with a popular messaging platform (Messenger) and the option to extend the service by adding more complex functionality at a later date.
Using FlowXO, I set up a basic chatbot that presented responses based on inputs from the user using what essentially amounts to a decision tree.
Within about 30 minutes I had the basics of my service ready, using tips from our already existing Granada travel guide. I then tweaked some of the wording so that it appear more human and less like bullet points, submitted it to Facebook for approval and then 24 hours later, it was live!
I have to stress that this isn’t a particularly clever chatbot - it’s basically visual IVR where you can select a few options and get some canned responses. That said, it does what I believe it needs to do - enable people travelling to Granada to receive some expert tips on what to do and where to go in an easy-to-use and intuitive way. Right now there is no reason to make it “appear” any cleverer.
If you feel like it, give it a try! You can get started by saying Hi to Concierge99 on Facebook Messenger or simply following this link.
We are always happy for feedback so fire away and let us know how it goes!
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Siamac and Julieanne are avid world travellers, sun worshippers and enjoy sharing recommendations of treats they've encountered along the way. With this blog and Concierge99's Top 5 Guides, they can help you make the most of your travels, giving you an opportunity to find interesting and unique things to do wherever you are in the world.
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