Tourism chatbots Everything you need to know


If you’re thinking about adding a chatbot (virtual assistant) to your tourism website to provide 24/7 tourist support, but you’ve got some questions and not sure what it involves, then this is a can’t-miss post for you. We’ll cover questions like:

1. Should I install a chatbot?

2. What virtual assistants do other destinations use?

3. What resources do I need to roll out a chatbot?

4. How much does a chatbot cost?


The 2018 University of Alicante study “Tourist Perception of Destination Service Quality: A Study of Spanish Tourists” published in the Journal of Travel Research found that immediate response to tourists’ questions by travel destinations increases user satisfaction and “purchase” intention.

Increasing the visitor appeal of the destination and tourists’ recommendations to other travellers, tourists particularly valued the destination’s ability to provide fast and accurate information through multiple channels, including websites, chatbots, social media and mobile apps.

We live in the age of immediacy and impulse bookings (90% of decisions are emotional), which makes the ability to provide an instant response essential. But first, you need to evaluate the suitability or otherwise of incorporating a virtual assistant.

Destinations that should add it (pros)

. Destinations with more than 100 tourist resources and >15% foreign tourists.

      – 74% would be more likely to buy a product or service if they are assisted in their native language.

. Destinations that receive a lot of queries by email or telephone and do not have staff available to handle them.

. Destinations that compete with their neighbouring destinations and want to attract tourists.

. Destinations interested in engaging tourists to learn more about them

Destinations that shouldn’t add it (cons)

. Destinations with limited tourism attractions that are easy to find online.

. Destinations without foreign tourism and that do not receive requests prior to arrival.

. Destinations, like Madrid and Bilbao, that have a call centre to handle calls and requests.

So, if you’re a destination that receives multiple questions or visits to your website, you may be losing tourists who are unable to easily find the information they need.

In 2019, the consulting firm Forrester Research found that the loading speed of a website and the ability to respond immediately to user questions are critical factors when it comes to the purchasing decision of online consumers.

According to the study, consumers expect an immediate response to their online questions, and websites that provide quick and effective responses are more likely to build user trust and ultimately increase sales.


We’ve analysed the 20 most visited destinations by tourists searching for tourist chatbots or virtual assistants and what’s caught our attention is that out of the list, only two destinations have chatbots on their website and it’s humans who answer the questions, not bots.

To check the speed of response, we’ve put these destinations to the test by asking a question in English about “what to see this week for couples”. These are the results.

1. Madrid, a chatbot that’s a call centre

chatbot Madrid

After 5 minutes waiting for a reply we are told that there are no operators available. It’s a bit frustrating because they don’t give you an alternative, so take it as a warning: if you don’t have enough resources, this tool can be a double-edged sword, just like we’ve seen with WhatsApp in the “Three steps to digitalising your tourist information centre” post.

2. Bilbao, a multi-language human chat

chat humano multi idioma

Even though we had to wait, the response was much more satisfactory than in Madrid. They gave us all the info in our language, and although it wasn’t fast the info was complete and personalised (as a tip, I’d suggest that they add “Please wait, we’ll get back to you in less than 5 minutes”) in several languages.

3. Vinarós and Santa Pola, chatbot 100%.

Like we said, there are hardly any destinations today that have opted for this technology, and two were made by the same company. We found one of the serious problems with old chatbots when we asked our question in English: if it doesn’t recognise the question, it doesn’t answer.

Turismo vinaros

Pros and cons of the different types of chatbots on tourism websites

1) Human chat (call centre)

. 🟩 The most personalised of them all

. ❌ Requires dedicated staff

. ❌ Slow response time

2) Chatbot (pre-GPT)

. 🟩 Programmed responses, cannot improvise or give information that has not been previously defined

. 🟩 Quick responses to pre-set questions

. ❌ Does not answer questions that are not pre-programmed, requires a lot of manual data entry to give minimally satisfactory answers

. ❌ If it does not understand the question it does not answer or respond in the correct language.

3) Chatbot with GPT 🚀

. 🟩 Answers in the tourist’s language adapted to the website content.

. 🟩 Speed in locating content on the website and providing the link.

. 🟩 Ability to profile the type of tourist according to the answers.

. ❌ It needs to be trained because if not, it might give information on other destinations, or on issues unrelated to tourism..

. ❌ There is a limit to the number of requests, so that once a limit has been exceeded, it is possible that it starts to give programmed responses and starts to exceed the allocated budget.

In short, if you can afford a call centre, it’s the most “human” option, but if you don’t have the resources, you can opt for an “old-fashioned” chatbot to answer frequently asked questions (FAQ).

Although now (April 2023),  you can opt for an assistant that will give you online info in your language in seconds through the power of GPT. 


Great, you’ve convinced me! If I can have a tool that doesn’t need support from my end and that provides information in any language and displays my website content in seconds, install it now! Not so fast! Just like when you get a puppy, the chatbot needs training.

With old chatbots, training meant creating conversational flows in different languages; many of them don’t even let you ask questions, they only let you pick from programmed response options.

Aqua natura

With GPT Chatbots, we change the flows for prompts, which means teaching the tourism chatbot with messages about what it should and shouldn’t say, something like telling a child what is wrong or right (those of you who are parents will understand).

The steps involved are:

1. Set up the Chatbot

. The good thing about GPT is that by simply entering your web domain, or uploading brochures, it can recognise the text and give a response based on your content. But like we said, we have to teach it so that it:

Doesn’t talk about things that aren’t related to your content or on your website

. Doesn’t say specific content. Warning¡ GPT is designed to make recommendations based on popularity, whether for beaches, museums, activities or restaurants. But a destination has to be democratic, so we can teach it to provide general information or based on a specific list of top recommendations that we set, and for private establishments, to provide links to the website with all the content without putting one above the other.

. Many destinations ask us if it is better to predefine the answers. Since GPT is based on “deep learning” and neural networks, it will answer using certain words or others depending on the question, and we love the naturalness in the answer (although this is optional).

2. Chatbot maintenance (user licence)

But do I have to do anything?

. See the conversations to find out what tourists have asked. Tip: whenever you can, set up the bot to ask for the tourist’s email address so that you can store it and then send them more information , or register them in your CRM to build loyalty.

. Change the prompts. If you see that a question leads to the wrong answer, you can update it and, best of all, you don’t need to know how to program: simply type it in and voilà!


A 2017 study by Oracle found that 80% of respondents felt that a chatbot’s ability to provide immediate answers, being available 24/7 and to provide accurate and consistent responses was one of the tech’s major benefits.

Now GPT has given chatbots the personalisation they didn’t have before. As Harvard University says, “personalisation can increase sales by up to 15%. Personalisation includes not only responding in the user’s language, but also offering relevant products or services and the right communication at each stage of the buying process”.

 We’re dealing with a whole new landscape in which the question will be: have you already set up your chatbot on your website and if not, what are you waiting for? the first GPT-powered tourism platform and our smart chatbot to collect tourist data from the website before visitors arrive. You can see an example on our homepage 

In terms of cost, it depends on a few factors:

1. Set UP

It depends on the number of characters that a website has, since more pages means more training for the bot. Websites usually range from one million to four million characters (if we’re talking about Autonomous Community or Provincial Government websites), which means set-up can range from €2,500 – €9,500 + VAT.

2. Recurring licences:

Here we have two costs:

. Chat GPT charges €0.02 per request, so we need to limit the use of GPT in order to establish a monthly limit of messages. Once this limit has been reached (somewhere between 4,000-16,000 messages per month, based on the fact that each user sends an average of five messages per interaction), the answers would be based on predefined questions.

. Train the bot and improve the answers. Like Google does, once the tech is open to the public, it is surprising the requests that people make and even more so if you give them complete freedom, which is why it is often necessary to review questions and answers every two weeks or every month to optimise the model and give recommendations that are more and more similar to those you give at the tourist information centre.

. The total annual cost will vary (between €2,500 and €14,500) depending on the number of messages, which depends on whether it is a small town or a website with many users.

Compared to a call centre, rolling out a chatbot like Cicerone’s is extremely affordable, making support in any language accessible and scalable to any channel (website, social media, WhatsApp, digital totems, etc.).

We’ll gradually see them added to all destinations, which could make the difference between one destination or another when tourists choose where to spend the summer depending on response speed.

If you want more info, please contact us and we’ll help you draw tourism to your destination (or at least not to lose it).  Digitise to survive.


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