Cognitive Tourism: Lanzarote creates personalized experience for visitors

A “Virtual tour guide” powered by cognitive technology and IBM Cloud, accompanies and advises you

Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa, is a Unesco biosphere reserve that is known for its year-round warm weather, pristine beaches, and volcanic landscape. As a popular tourist destination, the island of Lanzarote works hard to provide a positive visitor experience. Customer care is an important part of that experience, providing a resource for visitors to discover attractions, get directions, request refunds, find lost items, and more. But delivering high-quality customer care can be challenging. The Center of Arts, Culture and Tourism (CACT) of Lanzarote spends a lot of time training its agents, but the reality is many employees don’t stick around for long. And with limited experience and a lack of detailed knowledge, the agents sometimes find it difficult to answer questions on the spot, creating a call backlog and leaving tourists on the phone waiting. CACT wanted to make it easier for agents to prioritize calls, resolve complex issues, and even route many questions through self-service options. That’s where Watson comes in.

CACT worked closely with IBM to explore the potential of cognitive computing by holding the Lanzarote Cognitive App Challenge. The contest invited companies around the world to devise innovative ways to enrich the visitor experience, culminating in a “hackathon” for the finalists in April 2016. IBM Business Partner Skios won the contest and was awarded contract with the organization to develop apps for both tourism and customer care.

“With a cognitive-driven customer care app, we’re creating a world-class visitor experience for the island.” — Jose Juan Lorenzo, chief executive officer CACT.
EPEL-CACT and IBM Watson hackathon. Los Jameos Auditorium, Lanzarote.

Using the cognitive mobile app developed by Skios, CACT is transforming customer care on the island and strengthening its reputation as a top holiday destination. Designed as a source of information for both visitors and agents, the app is trained to diagnose and resolve common questions in near real-time so that agents can focus on more complex issues. As a visitor to Lanzarote, you have a personal guide on your mobile phone, in your language, that is adapted to your tastes via a personal and professional profile. For instance, if you’re a biologist, the app will highlight that Jameos del Agua lake is the only place on Earth where a unique species of crabs can be found. Because it’s based on IBM Watson cognitive technologies, it learns from your experience — the more the app is used, the more Watson will cater the recommendations to your preferences. If the application manager detects that you and your friends love music, it can send out an alert announcing a concert that same evening. How’s that for personalization?

Today’s traveler is looking for ways to make the most of their travel experience and with the vast amounts of information out there, vacation planning can become daunting. Watson has the cognitive computing ability to interpret unstructured data, personal information, images and reviews across multiple sites and help you make informed recommendations. And because Watson learns like a human does, the more information it learns about you, the better the recommendations it offers. Having Watson as your personal travel consultant takes the stress out of travel planning so you can enjoy your time away.

You can learn more about the mobile app created for Centers of Arts, Culture and Tourism (CACT) of Lanzarote and the Lanzarote Cognitive App Challenge here.