Emma, a Digital Mountain Assistant, Expands to Nine Ski Resorts
Emma, a digital mountain assistant, is now available to guide guests at nine Vail Resort properties, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe. Guests can text Emma their questions at 77477.
"I am the collective knowledge of every lift operator, groomer, snowmaker, ski school instructor, ticket counter attendant and ski patroller," said Emma. "I can help you with weather, lift status, terrain, EpicMix stats, parking, traffic, shuttles, rentals, lessons, lift tickets, resort experiences, planning and more – just ask!"
A first generation technology, Emma launched in November at Keystone Ski Resort in Colorado and has spent the early season enjoying record conditions and getting to know how guests ask questions at the resort. Emma will spend the rest of the 2018-19 ski season in beta and will get smarter the more she interacts with guests and expands her knowledge base and insight.
"We are excited to offer guests a one-stop source for the information they need, when they need it, in order to create an experience of a lifetime for our guests," said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer for Vail Resorts. "Emma has the passion and first-hand experience you'd expect from someone who's lived and worked in the mountains her entire life, and her expertise will continue to grow as guests interact with her throughout the season."
In addition to answering questions on everything from available terrain to lift line wait times, Emma can give guests their EpicMix stats when they text her simple questions like "How much did I ski today?" or "What are my stats?" and then provide Emma the 11-digit number located on their season pass or lift ticket.
Emma uses artificial intelligence (AI) through natural language processing (NLP) to answer questions, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the ski and snowboard season through short message service (SMS) text. If Emma cannot answer a question, she will connect guests to a live agent for further assistance. In an effort to continuously improve Emma's capabilities, guests can text "feedback" to share their open-ended ideas and comments for Emma.
Emma is one of the latest innovations from Vail Resorts designed to help simplify and improve the guest experience. Recently, the Company announced plans for a new handheld, mobile technology to allow skiers and snowboarders who purchase tickets in advance to bypass the ticket window altogether. That technology is expected to be available during the 2019-20 ski and snowboard season at all 17 of the Company's North American resorts.