Lisbon-based, AI-powered chatbot messenger concierge service for the hospitality sector HiJiffy, raises €300,000 to expand its services internationally.

According to Observador, the investment round was led by European investors, including Mobile World Capital, which hosts the largest exhibition for the mobile industry, the Mobile World Congress, and NUMA, an innovation center that supports community events and promotes acceleration of startups.

The money will be used to improve the product and allow entry into major tourist markets such as Spain, France, and Italy.

With HiJiffy guests can easily communicate with the hotel and access important information such as:

  • Booking a room
  • Hotel Services
  • Receiving daily notifications
  • City Tips
  • Chatting with staff

Founded by Tiago Araújo, José Mendonça, and Pedro Gonçalves in 2016 after realizing that customer service was something that the hotel industry needed to improve, the Portuguese startup was launched to provide a chat service implemented on each hotel’s website where guests can contact a virtual assistant that answers their questions.

If the assistant does not know the answer, the contact is transferred to the hotel staff that responds through the console.

All this happens with an automated “chat” on the hotel’s website, where guests have instant answers to their questions without the intervention of an agent.

HiJiffy AI-powered chatbots also facilitate the work of customer support agents, as they quickly ask all the necessary information so that the interactions are as efficient as possible and without repetitions.

In an interview last year with Twissen on how AI will evolve in the tourism sector, Co-Founder Araújo said, “Artificial Intelligence can make a big difference by decreasing the number of queries a human agent needs to reply and giving a real-time response to the guest. This can increase guest satisfaction, loyalty and, in the medium-term, direct bookings.”

How it works

  • On Facebook Messenger, users can check rates, availability or find the answer to their queries.
  • The chatbot can also transfer the communication to a human agent when needed.
  • HiJiffy’s technology will learn from the responses given by a company’s staff, so it will be able to reply automatically the next time.

HiJiffy is in nine countries and its clients include PortoBay, Zmar, Martinhal, and Uniplaces. The company added that next year it plans to raise a larger investment round “to enable it to continue to develop its technology” and also enter the North American market.

The Portuguese startup was one of 12 startups in tourism considered to have the greatest potential for the South Summit in 2017, among 3,500 candidates.