Visit Somerset Executive Summary

01 Apr 2022

Visit Somerset Executive Summary

High Level Objectives –

  • Year one - To automate 95% of all customer Q&A – reducing need for human interface whilst increasing productivity/engagement and retention, dwell time of user base, further increasing ROI.
  • Year one - To introduce Machine Learning to support, understand and prioritize needs of visitors, visiting the sites 4500-page platform, identifying most asked questions and most requested search terms, helping to support further personalisation development in phase 3 of development within 3 years.    
  • To prepare platform for user personalisation services in year 3 of development. Helping user’s experience/receive personalised and relevant content, first time, enhancing further the relevance and productivity of Visit Somerset digital platforms.

Seventy five percent of Visit Somerset audience are female aged between 25 -40 categorised as the Millennial market.

Bloomberg state: The Millennial market represents the largest generation to date, making up 31.5% of the world’s population at 7.7 billion. This generation have an estimated $200 billions of spending.  66% of millennials book their trip using a smartphone. 74% use it to research. 82% of millennials travelled last year, compared with 75% of all other generations.
Millennials are a generation that enthusiastically embrace new technology, wanting to be the first to have the latest gadgets and technology. Not only that, but they understand and embrace their role as influencers of developing technologies.
Because bots are driven by AI, a technology that relies on interaction to grow and improve, millennials have influence simply by using this technology. This in turn relates to millennials’ need for instant gratification. The more bots can learn their needs and preferences, the more quickly they can provide the desired, instantaneous response. Bloomberg (2021)

Forbes stated - When it comes to Facebook mobile apps, millennials are spending approximately 26 hours per month on that alone. It only makes sense that brands would create bots to meet the largest consumer group where they are spending a significant amount of time. The potential for bots to make life easier for millennials, and to improve the customer service experience is nearly limitless. Bots can be used for booking airfare and hotel rooms, to pay credit card bills, to seek help with technical issues, to purchase items, and a wide variety of other purposes. Supported by Forbes (2018)

Companys Role and Strengths 

Visit Somerset is the official Destination Management Organisation for the county of Somerset, having a diverse digital platform base – made up of a large web platform with over 4500 pages, together with 8 social channels. To date Visit Somerset has been able to support an ‘opted in’ data base of 20,000 users – Combined Visit Somerset has a user base of over a 850,000 participants and the potential of a future million personas, which Visit Somerset can personalise.  

It is important this data and the behaviors supporting this data set are all GDPR compliant.

Visit Somerset will need to communicate from an ethical standpoint as to why they require individuals’ data and what it will be used for. Essentially to enhance the users experience of all Visit Somerset marketing communications, tailoring to the individuals needs and interests.
Need and Competition 

In the introduction it was identified Visit Somerset platforms were increasingly seeing the largest market share coming from the Millennial market, possibly the most tech savvy generation. Forbes states: ‘Millennials prefer to deal with customer service issues themselves’.
Forbes went onto say.  
What Millennials like about Chat Bots is the following:
·       Instant gratification
·       A chance to engage with emerging technology
·       Convenience and connection
·       Conversational engagement

How Chatbots Feed into Millennials' Need for Instant Gratification Forbes (2018)

What are the ramifications if Visit Somerset does not adopt ML and AI Technology -?
Visit Somerset’s greatest competitor in the local marketplace is Air BnB with over 2500 Air BnB beds – offering great convenience with only ‘one click’ to book via their platforms.

Air BnB in a report state: Travel is deeply important to millennials. Most millennials would prioritise travel over buying a home or paying off debt. Millennials say they’re looking for something new when they travel – more adventurous, local, and personal. Over 80% of millennials seek unique travel experiences and say that the best way to learn about a place is to live like the locals do.  Millennials are passionate users of Airbnb and a substantial, growing part of Airbnb’s community. Roughly 60% of all guests who have ever booked on Airbnb are millennials, and the number of millennials who have booked on Airbnb has grown more than 120% in the past year.
Air BnB Millennial Report (2016)
Air Concierge states - Stay Connected. The typical millennial expects immediate response from everyone they contact. That means answering questions as quickly as possible and tailoring your marketing directly to them. Once you know what they want, contact them with targeted messages, opportunities and offers, and you'll likely capture their attention and vacation budget.
Always Connected. As the first adult generation to have grown up completely in a world of computerisation and connectivity, the millennial relies on technology for everything from shopping to socialisation. They expect 24/7/365 service and immediate response to their needs, concerns, and questions. Air Concierge (2017)
Timelines for development and launch.
Month 1 - Briefing board and other stakeholders – on the above narrative and why it is important to adopt AI technology, whilst mitigating concerns over potential job losses, whilst dispelling myths around strong AI and the realities of weak AI.  Work with board over the month to understand concerns and opportunities, creating a positive culture to help embrace AI and ML support within the organisation.
Month 2 - Communicate with visitors, through social media and data bases talking about the transformation in communication, using chat bot services, encouraging feedback from online consumers on the new approach. Whilst communicating the benefits and how this will possibly affect their data privacy, always supported, and governed by GDPR legislation
Month 3 – Sign off budget & Design Bot Flows for merging onto platforms.
Month 4 – Bot Training and analysis of back-end data flows of site         
Month 5 – Bot user testing
Month 6 - Launch Bot service
Month 7 - Communicate with internal / external stakeholders on opportunities from the launch gaining feedback on concerns mitigating any issues.
Month 8 – Be able to measure Bot engagements and start to focus down on trends specific to key searches – helping to shape future marketing strategy and lay down the building blocks for personalisation strategy in year 3.   
Month 9. – Begin to identify key messages still answered by Humans and support the implementation of adapted Machine learning capability to understand key questions and answers for further automation.
Mitigations to be continually evaluated – after launch.  
Regulating of the AI processes -  
Ensuring, there is an AI Audit, which –
  • Looks to avoid and monitor’s bias
  • Evaluates offline impacts on employment, driving reskilling/upskilling, finding solutions and skills being re deployed from the automation of some jobs.
  • Complies with all current data legislation which is reviewed and audited monthly.
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