Meet the Women Helping Tourists in Croatia with Viber Chatbot & Community

By 20 October 2020
Meet the Women Helping Tourists in Croatia with Viber Chatbot & Community
Women in Adria

October 20, 2020 - The Total Croatia Travel Info Viber chatbot and community helped thousands of tourists this summer. Meet the two women behind the scenes who made it tick. 

My biggest learning experience this year was about online communities. When Kresimir Macan suggested on the drive back from a trip to the realities of crossing the Croatian-Slovenian border during a pandemic in May that we start a Viber community, I assented without knowing exactly where this idea would lead. Two days later, I had to suffer the humiliation of asking one of his interns to download Viber to my desktop as I did not know how to. 

Within minutes, we were live as the TCTI Viber community was born (you need to download the app). The instant translation function meant that I was answering travel enquiries in Hungarian within the hour. By the end of the day, our infographic had been translated into 12 languages, thanks to the efforts of the new community, which was already 1,000 strong by the end of the day. 

After answering the same questions hundreds and hundreds of times, the idea of a Viber chatbot was born, and it has been incredibly efficient and easy to use. The official Andrija chatbot (in Croatian only) was rolled out with great fanfare and has about 100,000 users. By contrast, the TCTI Viber chatbot, which is in the tourist language of English, has amassed almost 30,000 subscribers so far. 

And while Macan and I were associated with the project in the media, it would not have happened without the great work and initiatives of two remarkable women, Jelena Šipušić Jurčić and Aleksandra Đermanović. Both were interview by Women in Adria about the Viber chatbot and community recently, and please find a full translation of the interview below

These Women are Part of the Core Team Behind the Viber Community Which Helped Save the Tourist Season

For business to function well, the most important thing to match is – the characters. And with our members, Jelena Šipušić Jurčić and Aleksandra Đermanović, they certainly coincided. And not only that, they complement each other perfectly! Both are sparky and cheerful, each in their own way - Jelena can’t stop talking about some new app she just imagined, and Alexandra only needs a few sentences to start coming up with new ideas and directions.

Their collaboration began when Jelena needed new ideas for her brands developed by her company, and Aleksandra was looking for a quality development partner. One conversation led to another, joint brainstorming was more and more productive, and then they got the opportunity to work together on a completely new project – Total Croatia Travel Info community (TCTI community) on Viber!

How did you meet?

Jelena: We were connected by Women in Adria, we „clicked“ and started working together. Aleksandra and her ingenious team do all the creative work for 4APP and our brands, and during one real women's coffee, the idea of performing together on Viber-related projects was born.

Aleksandra: As an agency, Mediacor is in charge of Viber's business development in the Croatian market. In this regard, we are constantly looking for quality partners who would be suitable for cooperation with Viber. When having a coffee together, we realized that Jelena’s team has the ideal experience and expertise that can help brands during their presence on Viber as a communication channel.

How did you come up with the idea of the Total Croatia Travel Info community?

Jelena: The idea for a chatbot that will help educate tourists who are interested in coming to Croatia was born on that coffee. Given that Paul Bradbury and Krešimir Macan with their team of people, at that time, diligently answered questions from tourists within the TCTI community 24/7, it was logical to get involved in the story and help them in any way we know. I offered them a chatbot, and Alexandra my creative services.

Aleksandra: A special sticker package was designed for the TCTI community, in English, which promoted Croatia as a destination and was available on a global level within the Viber platform – in all countries of the world where Viber is present.

What are the possibilities of using chatbots?

Alexandra: Chatbot is most effective when it helps users solve problems that happen often. In the case of the TCTI community, these are practical issues of tourists who have started to follow a certain pattern over time. To reduce the pressure on community managers, a bot was created that gave users the answers they needed in a very short time, and they were concerned about the technical details of coming to Croatia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jelena: 4APP primarily deals with the development and implementation of business systems, which proved to be an excellent background since we can integrate Viber chatbots with many systems and, of course, provide consulting services on business processes. The applications of this type of chatbot are practically unlimited… When you mention a chatbot, people usually first associate it with a boring web bot that attacks users with questions as soon as they visit a particular website.

This is not the case with Viber – bots are there to help users, answer questions, or point you to the right place to get answers. It is possible to connect them to CRM systems, ERP systems, internal portals, websites, retrieve information from open data portals... And all to give answers in one place, mobile, via Viber.

Based on this experience, what are your recommendations for our tourism?

Alexandra: Follow markets and trends, innovate, and scale.

Jelena: Modernization is always a good direction when it comes to attracting tourists. Provide them with as much information as possible in the simplest possible way and get them interested in trying something new in Croatia that they may not have planned.

Where else can this model be applied?

Jelena: This solution is extremely easy to use for the end-user, and that is the most important thing. The applicability of the model is, therefore, in all segments where the goal is to quickly and efficiently inform users. This is perhaps most pronounced in tourism, but why shouldn't the Croatian real estate scene inform its potential buyers about the opportunities that are opening up? This is just an example, but the possibilities are numerous.

Aleksandra: This is extremely applicable for tourism as a whole and this approach can be applied by individual renters (in a sense of gathering their regular guests in the community, regularly sending them information, and having a more personal relationship with them) to the Ministry of Tourism or tourist boards who want to reach existing and potential guests.

Your view on women’s networking and why is it needed?

Aleksandra: The most important thing is to have a good fit – to complement each other, not to enter each other's territory, and go towards a common goal. Practical – elements and bases of every meaningful relationship.

Jelena: Networking is necessary for every business to be successful, there is no difference for men or women. Maybe we just need to motivate the female part a little more because we often get overwhelmed with tasks and forget about the social side of work. The more people we know, the more we talk to each other, the more ideas we have. So more socializing, please.

You can learn more about chatbot possibilities with Jelena on the official 4APP website.

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