We are truly in an era of technological innovation; contact lenses with cameras in them, self-driving cars and now robots have landed in hospitality!
Yes that’s right, the robots are among us, well maybe not among, but they are now operating in hotels! Some robots being more obviously robot than others, mechanical and tech-y looking. Some are so human-like you could walk straight past them and never realise they don’t actually have a pulse.
So who is using robots these days?
These are just some of the hospitality providers who have robots among them:
– Starwood’s Aloft Hotels is using the robot “Boltr” to aid with check-ins and deliver items to guest rooms.
– Royal Caribbean is using robot bartenders on its ship ‘Quantum of the Seas’.
– The Crowne Plaza San Jose-Silicon Valley hotel are using “Dash” as their robot for delivering food, drinks and amenities.
– Hilton Hotel McLean, Virginia welcomed Connie to their concierge desk last month.
– The International Tourism Fair (ITB) in Berlin called upon humanoid robot Chihira Kanae to greet visitors in English, German, Chinese and Japanese.
What are the predictions?
New research from The Caterer suggests that robots will “become an important part of the hotel industry”. A survey of 6,000 people carried out by Travelzoo found that around 80% of the 6,000 said they expected robots to feature in travel and hospitality by 2020. Three-quarters said that was a good thing, in terms of improved travel experiences.
Are robots any good?
Robots are great for doing those mundane tasks of employees who are walking back and forth dropping off things at peoples’ hotel rooms, fast check-ins and checkouts meaning employees’ satisfaction will not decrease due to boredom. They free up the schedules of hotel staff who can better invest their time in engaging with customers to build upon relationships and provide great customer service!
Personal interactions with guests
This is all well and good having robots do work for us, but how actually effective are they going to be at dealing with unusual enquiries from guests? In this day and age, I’m thinking not great. I don’t know about you but I get frustrated enough with just automated phone calls, all I want is to talk to a real person and have my problem resolved. The human element is always going to come out top when it comes to customer service. The reassurance and empathy you get from humans has not been replicated in humanoids or robots therefore compromising customer service.
If that doesn’t make you clench your jaw in frustration then think about how annoying it is when the self-service tills in supermarkets tell you to “please remove item from the bagging area” – THERE’S NOTHING IN THE BAGGING AREA! Any human would see that plain and clear. What will it be like if we have robots checking us into hotels? Then again, whoever thought we’d be scanning our shopping ourselves 10 years ago? Things change…
Robots in hospitality, do they have a place in our futures, or are they best left as a thing of the past? This one is for you to decide, let’s watch this space! In the meantime, revel in the thought that there are definitely some jobs robots will never be able to do as well as humans!