ConnecTour - Connecting Tourism, Empowering Adventures
The ConnecTour team is from the New Zealand economy and consists of:
- Peter Hwang
- Quinn Moffat
1. Description of the Project and User Benefits
ConnecTour is a chatbot solution designed to bridge the gap between tourism operators and their customers. The project aims to leverage digital tools to create a more inclusive and efficient global trade landscape in the tourism industry. By providing a user-friendly chatbot interface, ConnecTour enables tourism operators, particularly micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to connect with a larger customer base and expand their reach beyond their local markets.
Tourism operators can utilize ConnecTour to showcase their services, provide information about their offerings, answer customer inquiries, and facilitate bookings. On the other hand, travelers can use ConnecTour to explore available tourism options, get real-time assistance, and make bookings directly with the operators.
2. Understanding of the Problem Space
The project recognizes the potential of digital tools in reducing the barriers faced by MSMEs and underserved communities in the tourism industry. It is challenging for tourism operators to deliver authentic experiences to their tourists while maintaining first-class customer service.
Unfortunately, many tourism operators have faced a significant period of stagnation and others have had to shut down due to travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The APEC Tourism Working Group estimates that tourism activity has recovered to 40% of pre-pandemic levels (APEC Tourism Working Group 2023). As levels continue to increase, there is opportunity to implement digital tools to facilitate connection between tourism operators and visitors to their economies.
ConnecTour addresses this problem by leveraging chatbot technology to provide an accessible and cost-effective solution for tourism operators. By integrating a chatbot into their operations, operators can streamline direct communication channels with potential customers, showcase their offerings, and accelerate the booking process. This enables them to overcome the limitations of traditional marketing channels and reach a broader audience, including international travelers.
3. Target Audience
The primary target audience for ConnecTour includes tourism operators, especially MSMEs, who are seeking to expand their reach and tap into the global market. These operators may face challenges in promoting their services, managing customer inquiries, and facilitating bookings efficiently. ConnecTour aims to empower them by providing a user-friendly chatbot interface that enables seamless communication and simplifies the booking process.
At a governmental level, there is interest from many APEC economies in boosting cross-border tourism for travel. Economies such as Australia, New Zealand, Viet Nam, Thailand and The United States have announced policies, or streamlined processes to encourage the return of tourists to their countries.
We want to first enable English-speaking communication between tourists and operators as our technology is most proficient in this. There is ample opportunity to look toward same-language, non-english conversations (e.g. Vietnamese) and cross-language conversations (e.g. one party in Korean, one party in Vietnamese) based on customer adoption.
Additionally, ConnecTour caters to the needs of travelers who are looking for personalized tourism experiences and prefer direct interaction with operators. These travelers can benefit from the convenience of accessing tourism information, making inquiries, and booking services in real-time through the chatbot interface.
4. Technological development
Our chatbot technology utilizes the ChatGPT, TripAdvisor, and Google Maps APIs. We’ve used the Langchain library to provide standard tooling and are using Gradio for demonstrating our prototype.
The management platform is a Flask application, backed by a MySQL database and making use of Bulma CSS.
We see ConnecTour as the beginning of a broader platform to support tourism businesses. There is significant opportunity to digitize the tourism landscape, examples include: Customer marketing (e.g. targeted digital advertising, chat integrated communications), Enquiry and booking (e.g. ConnecTour, a common booking platform akin to Shopify), Tourism operations (Tourism focused CRM, Operations tools for guides), Feedback and referrals (Re-thinking recommendations and reviews), Payment (Currency conversions/management, payment processing).
The ConnecTour team will be investigating tools and opportunities between the tourist/operator relationship.
ConnecTour, the chatbot solution connecting tourism operators with their customers, seeks to revolutionize the way tourism services are accessed and booked. By leveraging chatbot technology, ConnecTour empowers tourism operators, especially MSMEs, to overcome the barriers of internationalization and connect with a global customer base. Through its user-friendly interface, Connect
APEC Tourism Working Group. (2023). Tourism industry of APEC region in the COVID-19 recovery period: Current situation, trends and challenges. Retrieved from https://www.apec.org/docs/default-source/publications/2023/4/tourism-industry-of-apec-region-in-the-covid-19-recovery-period-current-situation-trends-and-challenges/223_twg_tourism-industry-of-apec-region-in-the-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=f5f815ee_2
United States Department of Commerce. (2022, June). Secretary Raimondo announces new national strategy to reenergize U.S. travel and tourism. Retrieved from https://commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2022/06/secretary-raimondo-announces-new-national-strategy-reenergize-us-travel
Demo - Try creating and managing a chatbot instance
We suggest having a look at the following user details:
- User: email@example.com
- Pass: adminexample
We will be continuing development. Relevant commit hashes are:
- Connectour Service: #fee4c26
- Chatplug Service: #24b4ab9