Vivid Sydney 2017

Vivid Sydney is the largest event of its kind in the world. The three week event combines light, music and ideas and showcases the best in art, performance and thinking in Sydney, Australia.


Vivid Sydney is an annual event produced by Destination NSW, the lead government agency for New South Wales (NSW) tourism and major events. During Vivid Sydney, social media traffic to the organiser's sites increases by over 200% and Destination NSW wanted to provide a better service to the festival visitors trying to get in touch.

While they had a team of community managers online during the festival's opening hours, DNSW wanted to increase the capability of their offering by providing an experience to assist in exploring the events, and providing answers to frequently asked questions.


The experience was created in Iris and designed to take advantage of the private messaging capabilities of both Facebook Messenger and Twitter Direct Messages. Vivid Sydney visitors could explore the hundreds of events spread across 12 precincts using their favourite social app.

To allow for flexibility in delivery, Iris presented dynamic keyboards, pulling data from the Vivid Sydney API to populate the experience. This solution allowed events to be prioritised based on time and ticket availability, while expired or sold out events were not shown to visitors.

Visitors could use the built in Quick Reply keyboards and Buttons to navigate through the many events, share their location to find out what's on near them, and find out about traffic and road closures, public transport options and how to get help.

Besides the keyboard navigation options, the experience delivered a comprehensive Natural Language Classification solution to allow people to ask questions as they would in everyday conversation. When a visitor needed help from a Community Manager, the conversation was seamlessly handed over for a manual solution. Once the Community Manager had assisted the user, the festival goer could return to the experience and continue to explore.


Assisting visitors to Sydney explore hundreds of speakers and events over a three week festival is a daunting task for any team. By creating a virtual concierge that responded to natural language requests, Vivid Sydney increased their response rate and reduced the time taken to respond.

The average Messenger user spent 4 minutes 36 on the experience and revisited the experience 5.3 times, and the average Twitter user spent 2 minutes 34 engaging and reused the experience 6.4 times.

No matter the time of day, or how many other visitors were asking questions, Iris provided timely and accurate responses.