An AI-powered virtual assistant that customizes the Snowbird skater experience

At major ski resorts in the United States like Snowbird, there are few sights more welcoming to a skier in trouble than having an avalanche rescue dog.

Snowbird decided to make the lovable avalanche, or ‘avy’, rescue dogs their new faces digital customer experience Platform – powered by artificial intelligence virtual assistant Automatically responds to customer inquiries and problems.

Even though spring has come, the chatbot’s customer service capabilities are still being worked out. With a bonus of over 7 feet of snow still on the slopes, the resort expects to remain open for skiing and snowboarding through May, the longest season of any ski area in Utah’s Wasatch Mountain Range.

Building a “dog chat”

To build the virtual assistant “Dog Chat” AI, Snowbird and its parent company – Powdr Corp. Based in Park City, Utah – Satisfi Labs, a 2014 startup Conversational AI Seller based in New York. The seller specializes in creating applications for large malls and outdoor recreation, such as professional sports venues, zoos, and, in recent years, about 15 ski areas.

The digital marketing teams chose Snowbird and Powdr Satisfi for Snowbird and several other Powdr ski resorts, including Vermont’s Killington, because they were impressed with the vendor-built virtual AI assistants for a Las Vegas strip mall and more than a dozen Major League Baseball Teamssaid Colton Smith, Director of Digital Marketing at Snowbird.

“They brought a lot of brand voice into those chats,” Smith said. “We were going to have a virtual assistant, but how do we make it so there’s some Snowbird in this thing? How do we make it fun?”

They brought a lot of brand voice to those chats. We were going to have a virtual assistant, but how do we make it so that there’s some Snowbird in this thing?

Colton SmithDigital Marketing Director, Snowbird

Smith explained that one concern is that customers will become frustrated by interacting with a robot rather than a human.

“Looking at some examples of Satisfi, we were inspired by what they do,” he said.

Assist virtual customers for slopes

Snowbird customers want to know all sorts of things—from ticket prices and opening hours for the hostel’s base restaurant to whether certain ski runs are open and what the risk of an avalanche is.

Before Snowbird first released the avy dog ​​virtual assistant for the 2020-2021 ski season, the resort’s social media teams answered about 100 questions a day on Facebook or email. The information was mostly available on the resort’s website, but people couldn’t find it.

Smith said that the AI ​​virtual assistant saves a lot of employees’ time. This and improving the customer experience are two of the main advantages of Snowbird, more than Specific ROI Or another impact on revenue, according to Smith. He did not provide pricing information, but said the company is getting a “good deal on it because we’re working with it via the Powder wallet.”

Satisfi built its core product, an AI-powered answer engine, to focus on super-local search, said Don White, the company’s CEO and co-founder, who has a background in financial trading technology on Wall Street.

Conversational AI

Instead of focusing on keyword-oriented research as much as it is Customer Experience Technology Vendors are doing this, Satisfi has built its own conversational AI engine to understand questions like “What is the price of a ticket for a child?” or “What is the difference between a family plan and an individual plan?”

Snowbird virtual assistant app with a picture of an avalanche rescue dog
An AI virtual assistant at Snowbird Ski Resort.

“We looked at a lot of the bigger systems and didn’t understand why they didn’t take that kind of privacy into account. The short answer is because it’s difficult,” White said. ‘It takes a lot of mining data And a lot of data tags.”

White and co-founder and chief technology officer Randy Newman worked on Wall Street in the early 2000s to create ultra-accurate currency exchange trading algorithms. With Satisfi, they have combined a hyperlocal approach with natural language processing Conversational technology.

“We just transferred it to natural language, which is why I think we worked,” he said.

Satisfi started hosting exclusively on Amazon, but is shifting its chat bots to multi-cloud platform including Google Cloud Platform.

After seven rounds of seed funding and venture capitalists including Google Assistant Investments And Major League Baseball, in addition to taking on some debt, Satisfi has grown to about 35 employees.

Building an AI workforce

Satisfi prides itself not only on its AI technology, but also of serving its users by customizing virtual assistants and chat bots according to their needs, such as answering new types of questions or tackling new problems, whether in the skate industry or other settings, White said.

And this work does not always require developers. The Satisfi operations team is able to quickly respond to chatbot modification requests through its configuration dashboard.

“The AI ​​workforce is what we focus on,” White said. “Make conversational AI desirable.” “I want Powdr Corp. to be able to ask us, ‘So, do you have a lift ticket assistant to help people lift tickets or buy next?'” “

“I just want this job to be handled by an artificial intelligence, and a human is the supervisor,” he added. “So, let’s say a human has a team of three. Well your employees are now 10 because you have seven AIs. [bots] Run and do certain tasks for you.”

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