Travel/Engagement/Chatbot • 5 min read

Virgin Holidays Chatbot: The Californian Engaging Travel Buddy

Marie Avandegraund
Marie Avandegraund
Nov. 6, 2019. Updated Mar. 27, 2024

What was the problem

The third Monday of January is considered to be the most depressing day of the year.

But some disagree. Virgin Holidays decided to shake away Monday's blues by focusing on the positive and fun things that are happening in the world. The campaign “Screw It, Let’s Do It” is aimed at encouraging people to look at January as the perfect month for grabbing opportunity and adventure, as Managing Director of Virgin Holidays, Joe Thompson explains.

They slashed the prices of over 200 activities from its holiday packages to just 1 $ – basically the price of a chocolate bar. But people had to be very quick if they wanted to snap up a bargain though, as the sale had taken place on Sunday 21st January only - so once it was gone, that's it.

How did we help?

To sell their activities, Virgin Holidays used the world's most conversational tool – a chatbot.

The travel wizards from Virgin Holidays always put clients first. So they wanted more than just a chatbot, but rather a travel buddy that would talk and sound like a true Californian with their common slang words, expressions, and optimistic vibe.

Why Californian? Virgin Holidays thinks that with its marvelous beaches, hills, optimistic vibes, and a bunch of amazing activities, sunny California is a perfect place to visit in January.

Together with Virgin Holidays and a partner PR company, we created the chatbot requirements, ideal user profile, user stories, and a project roadmap.

Here's the solution

A Messenger chatbot that would chat with a user, collect the required info, and then recommend the activity or destination that would be a good match for this person. Then a person can purchase the unique codes for each experience.

Virgin Holidays chatbot


After the launch, our Cali bot had massive success with the audience, so Virgin Holidays received the award for the “Screw it, Let’s do it” campaign.

How did we achieve it?


With Virgin Holidays, we discussed the chatbot’s tone of voice and flow. Based on the data that Virgin Holidays gave us, we created a friendly, chill, and positive chatbot personality and flow. The chatbot, which Virgin named “Cali- bot” used different emojis and gifs.

The chatbot’s primary focus was to engage, spark interest, and lead people to book one of many $1 experiences that Virgin Holidays was offering.

Virgin Holidays activities


We integrated the chatbot with the database to keep all travel experiences that Cali bot would offer. And set the logic for recommending the experiences. During testing and training stages, we’ve put the focus on chatbots flow and UX. With that in mind, we decided not to overcrowd the chatbot with additional functionality and made it narrow and simple.

A bit more about our client

Virgin Holidays is a British company within Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group. The company was formed in 1985, and its HQ is in West Sussex, UK. Virgin holidays is the largest, most successful transatlantic tour operator and market leader for travel to the USA and the Caribbean. Virgin Holidays is known for being a customer-centric company that creates for its clients an unforgettable holiday experience.

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