Vail Resorts introduces Emma, an interactive digital mountain assistant, to provide real-time skier information | SummitDaily.com

Vail Resorts introduces Emma, an interactive digital mountain assistant, to provide real-time skier information

New technology uses artificial intelligence to answer guests’ questions

Vail Resorts today introduced Emma, the world's first digital mountain assistant to help guide guests while on their ski and snowboard vacation at nine of the company's resorts. Emma is an interactive mountain assistant who uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to answer a wide range of guests' questions about their ski vacation. Emma will debut for the 2018-19 winter season at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe; and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada.

Through short message service (SMS) text, Emma answers guest questions in real time. On-demand information can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, resulting in instant service and a seamless experience for guests from exploring a resort's village to learning if a favorite slope is groomed to recommendations for the best après-ski location. Topics such as snow conditions and lift line wait times, parking and in-resort wayfinding, ski school, lift tickets and equipment rental options, on- and off-mountain dining and activity recommendations and more can be accessed through Emma. From planning a ski vacation to arrival and all the way through to departure, Emma offers guests a breadth of information tailored to each resort. If Emma cannot answer a question, she will seamlessly connect guests to chat with a live agent for further assistance. As Emma interacts with guests, her knowledge base and insight will continue to expand through both human and machine learning.

Emma will be launched as an "alpha" version to a very small community of users this March to prepare for her debut in the 2018-19 winter season. Future generations of Emma may include integration with Facebook Messenger, voice assistants like Alexa, wearable technology notifications and Vail Resorts' EpicMix mobile application.

"At Vail Resorts, we are committed to delivering an experience of a lifetime to each one of our guests and that means giving them the information they need, when they need it in order to plan and fully engage in the experience while at our world-class mountain resorts," said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, in a statement. "As we have done before with EpicMix, we can use cutting-edge technology with Emma to improve our guest service without detracting from their connection with the incredible natural beauty of our resorts or the personal engagement provided by our passionate employees."