“The Chatbot Is an Answer to the Increasing Number of Client Questions”
The TravelPlanet.pl chatbot built with the help of the KODA Bots’ technology has been helping users since June 2019. Clients can use it to compare trips offered by the largest travel agencies, like TUI, Itaka, or Coral Travel. The chatbot improves communication with clients – it shortens the travel agencies’ response time and, at the same time, increases customer service availability. It provides clients with offers and travel details. But, most importantly, it constantly learns and acquires new skills. Right now, it provides travel offers from almost 30 countries from all over the world.
I’m talking about the TravelPlanet.pl chatbot with Radosław Damasiewicz, Marketing and Ecommerce Manager at Travelplanet.pl.
Andrzej Gruszka: When did you become interested in chatbots?
Radosław Damasiewicz: The idea started to develop when we noticed the first successful chatbot implementations carried out by large foreign editors. When Polish horizontal portals also started to distribute content through Messenger, we were sure that a chatbot will be a great solution also in the tourism industry.
AG: What convinced you to use a chatbot in the communication of TravelPlanet.pl?
RD: The chatbot is an answer to the increasing number of client questions, which are asked daily on our Facebook fan page. During the summer season, the number of questions can make anyone’s head spin, so we have to waste a lot of time answering every message manually. That’s inconvenient from the perspective of our clients who don’t have that time and want to receive specific information as quickly as possible. Chatbots provide immediate and effective customer service, which is available 24h a day. Users need only several clicks to have interesting travel offers saved on their phones.
AG: How did you prepare yourselves for the development of the chatbot?
RD: We started with consulting all the customer service departments – from sales and product specialists to the complaints department. Thanks to the knowledge of our experts, we could create the first sales flow and a section of questions and answers. We also defined the personality of our virtual assistant.
A globe-trotting adventurer, an experienced air traveller who knows everything about trips to foreign destinations. Someone with a laid-back attitude but who is well-organized when it comes to planning vacations. That’s how Mr Suitcase was born.
Then, together with KODA Bots, we designed a communication system between our website and the chatbot so that it could help users book their dream Spanish vacation. We tested the first version in-house and, after introducing several improvements, Mr Suitcase was able to help clients from our fan page.
The tests allowed us to optimize the conversation flow. At the same time, we also worked on expanding our travel offer with new countries. Today, Mr Suitcase helps users with the most popular travel destinations and he never stops learning new things.
AG: What is your favourite feature of the chatbot?
RD: It’s hard to pick one because the chatbot has many interesting features. Right now, I’d say that it’s the ability to automatically send messages after a finished conversation. Thanks to short surveys, we’re able to see how users rate their conversations with our chatbot. They suggest new ideas, which help us plan further improvements.
AG: How did you inform travel enthusiasts about the new virtual assistant?
RD: Social media are, of course, the main promotion channel. But you can also see the chatbot on our website, display billboards, inside travel agencies, or in our newsletter. Mr Suitcase also works as a junior social media sales specialist for Travelplanet.pl – you’ll see him, amongst others, in our internal company newsletter.
AG: What do users most often ask about?
RD: Most of all, clients search for cheap All Inclusive vacations. It takes Mr Suitcase only 4 questions to show users the most attractive destinations offered by the largest Polish tour operators. So if you’re looking for “right here, right now” information – m.me/Travelplanet is the best address to visit.
AG: Have you come to any conclusions?
RD: Chatbots are tools that require constant optimization. There always is something that we could’ve done better. Clients sometimes surprise us with questions we weren’t able to predict or ask for search filters that haven’t even crossed our minds.
AG: How will the TravelPlanet.pl chatbot surprise us in the nearest future?
RD: Let’s hope that with many new features, which will help in the selection of travel offers better suited to our clients’ needs.
AG: Why did you choose KODA Bots instead of other, for instance, free chatbot building platforms?
RD: We searched for experts who have experience in deploying chatbots for major Polish brands. Someone whom we could trust, someone who’d smoothly introduce us to the world of chatbots and allow Travelplant.pl clients to use a chatbot right before the beginning of the summer vacation season. We’ve considered several partners to cooperate with but it was Mariusz who came by at the right place and time.
AG: Thank you for the interview.
RD: Thank you, too.
Radosław Damasiewicz – Marketing and Ecommerce Manager at Travelplanet.pl. Graduate of the Wrocław University of Economics and SGH Warsaw School of Economics. He has more than 10 years of experience in the online tourism industry. Currently, as the Marketing and Ecommerce Director at Travelplanet.pl, he manages a team of online and offline marketing specialists. He’s a big enthusiast of travelling and music, and co-authors a travel blog called nanowychdrogach.pl.