The Making of a Chatbot: The Lloyd Story

February 24, 2023by Hiebing

Mad City, Madtown, City of Four Lakes – just a few of the names our city of Madison, Wisconsin, is known by. What some may not know is that Madison holds a slice of architectural history – Monona Terrace. Designed by a native Wisconsinite hailed as the greatest architect of the twentieth century, Frank Lloyd Wright spent years championing this design as his gift back to the state he so loved. Wright dreamed of building a terrace that linked Wisconsin’s state capital to the beautiful Lake Monona. A project that came to fruition 59 years after its inception, Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center stands tall as an iconic feature of Madison’s downtown skyline.

Serving as an art exhibition, meeting and public space, Monona Terrace hosts thousands of events annually. The event planners coordinating these functions expertly juggle all the details: who, when and, most importantly, where. Some planners experience burnout when they hit a brick wall with venues that don’t call back or propose unrealistic standards.

With their mission to deliver exceptional and inspirational experiences in mind, we joined forces to create their online assistant: The Lloyd Chatbot – a nod to their architectural namesake.  

The Challenge

Our team conducted a few rounds of user research to learn more about the target and their ongoing struggles with booking venue spaces. Here’s what we found:

  • Most planners want to be sure spaces are available before investing the time to reach out for more information.  
  • Some planners might be unable to visit the space before booking and wish for better visuals.  
  • Descriptions of spaces accommodating for A/V, dance floor and table spaces were lacking.
  • Planners were unlikely to fill out a long form, fearing getting lost in the shuffle and not hearing back.

With the data to back our project, we embarked on a journey to build an in-website digital assistant that could address and streamline the initial contact experience. The goal was to create a pioneer in the digital space, fit to serve the innovation of the grandiose community center Frank Lloyd Wright so thoughtfully designed.

The Strategy

Armed with the understanding of the target’s needs and the space to expand Monona Terrace’s digital presence, our team set to work on building out a first-of-its-kind for the Madison community: an intelligent, intuitive chatbot to help guide potential meeting planners.

The biggest piece of the puzzle became how to pepper in genuine conversation with a bot to get a planner the specifics about the space they were interested in renting. To flesh out the conversation in a way that felt organic, we considered all the information Lloyd would need to make a good recommendation – what kind of event are you hosting? How many people are attending? Will you need a buffet, AV capabilities, etc.? — and scripted conversation paths that allowed planners to answer these questions in a conversational, engaging way, while adhering to Monona Terrace’s “butler-like” brand voice and level of service. 

Depending on the path the conversation with Lloyd took, planners were able to get photos of the room to get a sense of whether it would meet the event’s needs. This allowed planners to get immediate answers with intelligent recommendations from Lloyd to guide them toward the right space.

In addition to providing photos, recommendations and package options, Lloyd also helps avoid the pesky long forms that most venues request and puts planners in touch with a real person if they have additional questions Lloyd can’t answer. This streamlines the venue exploration in such a way that avoids bogged-down inboxes and continued spam calls if the planner has already ruled out this location for their next event.

The Impact

The creation of Lloyd led to an immediate and continuous uptick in strong leads that turned into bookings at a higher percentage than any of the competitors in the area. Since implementation, Lloyd has interacted with hundreds of meeting planners, securing a meaningful 10% conversion rate.

With the continued help of Lloyd, Monona Terrace is helping drive the recovery of the tourism economy post-pandemic for the city of Madison. Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision of a community gathering place has blossomed into a vibrant piece of Madtown – and Lloyd is just the right bot to help you fall in love with all it has to offer.


The Possible: Using conversational tools with a savvy tech edge can give you a better way to interact with your target audience.

The Proven: The use of smart tech can turn steady leads into bookings that drive revenue.  

Interested in expanding your digital presence? We can help. Email Nate Tredinnick at to set up a call.

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