Should a tour operator use AI to build a knowledge base chatbot?  

Carla Vianna
Carla Vianna
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Should a tour operator use AI to build a knowledge base chatbot?  

We’re seeing more  travel companies deploy knowledge base chatbots, specifically, to take their customer service to the next level. These automations that leverage AI help brands provide better guest support at scale at a more affordable cost.  

In this post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of knowledge base chatbots to help you decide if this is the right choice for your business.

What is a knowledge base chatbot?

A knowledge base chatbot, in particular, is an AI tool that can answer customer questions based on a database of relevant information, also known as a “knowledge base.” This knowledge base might include documents, FAQs, and troubleshooting instructions that tell the bot how to interact with your customers.

These chatbots are designed to offer guests information quickly and accurately by drawing from a specific data source.

What’s the difference between a knowledge base and a chatbot? 

Before diving into the potential benefits and drawbacks of having a knowledge base chatbot for your tour business, let’s explore what sets this tool apart from a regular chatbot.

A knowledge base is a centralized repository of information. It can be a structured set of resources on an app or website, containing answers to frequently asked questions and other relevant data. The purpose is to act as a comprehensive help center for both your customers and staff members.

A chatbot, on the other hand, is an AI-powered conversational tool that can digest and relay that information over to the user. It can answer questions, provide assistance, and even complete tasks.

The key distinction here is that a knowledge base is a static resource, while a chatbot offers dynamic, real-time assistance. Ideally, you’d integrate the two solutions, providing a knowledge base-fueled chatbot that can efficiently communicate with your customers and staff.

Pros of creating a custom knowledge base chatbot for your tour business

Let’s explore some of the advantages of investing in a custom knowledge base chatbot. 

1. 24/7 availability 

One of the main advantages of integrating a knowledge base chatbot into your tour operations is the ability to provide round-the-clock availability to your customers. Tourists often have questions or require assistance at various hours, even when you’re asleep. A knowledge base chatbot can instantly assist them, so you can process more bookings even when you and your team are asleep.   

2. Increased operational efficiency

Knowledge base chatbots can quickly — and accurately — provide information to your customers. This efficiency can free up your employees to focus on more complex tasks, such as handling unique requests or providing personalized recommendations.

3. Cost savings

A knowledge base chatbot comes with an initial investment in setup and development, however, the ongoing operational costs are significantly lower than maintaining a large customer support team. Over time, these savings can be substantial, making it a great way for tour operators to cut costs without diminishing their service quality.

4. Internal training tool

The benefits of knowledge base chatbots aren’t exclusive to your customers. They can also serve as valuable internal training tools for tour and attraction operators. 

For example, the chatbot can provide real-time information and guidance to your staff about tour details, company policies, and customer service best practices. It can also be a valuable tool in the onboarding process. You can leverage the chatbot to provide new employee training. 

5. Faster reply times 

The ability to provide immediate answers to frequently asked questions and common issues significantly reduces response times, which boosts overall customer satisfaction. Responsiveness is one of the core areas of customer service that impacts a customer’s perception of your overall service quality level. 

6. Consistent information

The chatbot’s interactions are based on a static database of information, ensuring that responses remain consistent and accurate. Your customers will always receive reliable information, no matter when or how they’re interacting with the chat service.

Cons of creating a custom knowledge base chatbot for your tour business. 

We’ve seen the numerous benefits of using a custom knowledge base chatbot — yet it’s important to consider a few potential drawbacks, too.

1. Setup time and costs 

Creating a custom knowledge base chatbot requires an initial investment in terms of time and money. Developing the chatbot itself can be a complex process. Then, you or your staff will need to spend time training it on all of your company’s documentation.  While this is just part of the initial setup, a brand-new or short-staffed operator may lack the time and resources to do this.

2. Ongoing maintenance 

Once your chatbot is up and running, it’ll require ongoing maintenance — such as updates to your knowledge base. 

3. Not ideal for complex support questions 

Knowledge base chatbots are great at handling routine and frequently asked questions. However, they may struggle with more complex or unique inquiries. If a customer wants to make a special request for a birthday celebration, for instance, a chatbot won’t be able to offer the personalized help they’re looking for.

That being said, if your tour business frequently deals with intricate customer concerns, a chatbot won’t be the end-all solution. Operators will need to train these bots to understand when and how to pass on a customer query to a human staff member.

4. Lacks empathy and nuance

While Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology has allowed chatbots to communicate in a more human-like way, they still lack the empathy that a customer agent can provide. Chatbots are great when delivering information in a straightforward, factual manner, but when it comes to dealing with sensitive issues or complaints, your staff members will always be more equipped to remediate the situation.

5. Need a lot of data and fine-tuning to get it right 

To perform effectively, a knowledge base chatbot requires a substantial amount of data and fine-tuning. Operators will need to compile a comprehensive database of information and constantly update it for accuracy and relevance.

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These AI-driven tools promise numerous advantages, including 24/7 availability, enhanced operational efficiency, and significant cost savings. They can serve not only as assets for your customers but also as internal training tools for your staff members. 

Yet, these benefits come with certain drawbacks, such as initial setup costs and limitations in handling complex support queries.

Ultimately, the decision to adopt knowledge base chatbots depends on your tour or attraction business’ needs and goals. Weighing these pros and cons can help you make an informed decision about whether this technology is the right fit for your tour business.

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Writer Carla Vianna

Carla Vianna

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