Hotelplan, TMI and Animatico present Switzerland's first virtual travel advisor

With "Tom", TMI and its technology partner Animatico have won the race for the newly created position as Hotelplan Suisse's first virtual travel advisor.

"Tom" is one of several digitization initiatives as part of the Swiss tour operator's new strategic direction. In three months, the first consulting avatar was designed and implemented in co-creation between Hotelplan Suisse, the Zurich agency TMI and the ETH spin-off Animatico.

"Tom" has recently started working at the Hotelplan branch in Shoppyland Schönbühl in the canton of Berne, advising customers who want to travel. Tom" has his workplace in a large, interactive screen on which customers can communicate with him playfully through voice and motion recognition. The touch function offers further input options: By scanning a QR code on a smartphone, customers can download the desired information documents, such as vacation catalogs, directly and take them with them or have them sent to them by e-mail.

"Tom" was made fit for a total of five customer use cases. He is able to offer inspiration and advice for the next vacation destination, take catalog orders and - very helpful in the pandemic - provide information on current entry requirements. In addition, it forwards customers with concerns about existing bookings to the appropriate office.

"Tom" supports the Hotelplan team in Schönbühl at off-peak times and is intended to be a reinforcement and not a replacement for branch employees. Tim Bachmann, CEO of Hotelplan Suisse, explains: "If the pilot project with 'Tom' is successful, we can imagine deploying further virtual employees in other branches."

Responsible at Hotelplan Suisse: Nicole Pfammatter (Director Distribution & Marketing), Manuela Wedemeyer (Change Manager Distribution), Stefan Thanner (Branch Manager HCC Glattbrugg). Responsible at TMI and Animatico: Alban Haas (Head of Operations), Caroline Breitenmoser (Art Director TMI), Anuschka Iten (Project Support TMI), Markus Wanner (Managing Partner TMI), Patrick Glauser (Managing Partner TMI); Sven Näf (Chief Business Development Animatico), Riccardo Roveri (Co-Founder Animatico), Pascal Bérard (Co-Founder Animatico).

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