Hotel robots are very much a real thing and odds are you’ve probably interacted with one and not even realized it.
When most of us think about hotel robots, we imagine what we see on the big screen in Hollywood Blockbusters like Wall-E and I, Robot. AI and robotics technology is being embraced by many industries, including hospitality.
With technology changing daily, it is no surprise that interactions with robots are becoming more and more common.
Since we are all about travel here at Journo, let’s have a look at three ways hotel robots are being used to improve guest satisfaction as well as the pros and cons of using them.
1. Hotel Chatbots
A hotel chatbot is no doubt the most common hotel robot. They can help guests with everything from booking a reservation, assistance checking in and out, to requesting more towels.
They allow a hotel to provide guests with 24/7 customer service in multiple languages. This leads to an improved customer service experience for guests and takes some of the burdens off of hotel staff.
Hotels like The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas use Rose, a chatbot, to provide awesome customer service via text. Her job is to help guests have a better time while they are in Vegas.
2. Delivery Robots
While hotel chatbots most likely provide you with your first hotel robot interaction, delivery robots most likely provide you with your next.
These robots look more like the traditional image of a robot you no doubt have in mind. Their job is to deliver things like snacks, room service, wine, and toiletries. They provide the safe and efficient delivery of items to hotel guests and allow for a completely contactless service.
The Crowne Plaza’s San Jose Silicon Valley location has Dash on staff. When needed, Dash uses a unique Wi-Fi connection to navigate around the hotel. Guess are notified that their delivery has arrived with a phone call.
Dash is so well programmed that it knows when it needs to recharge its batteries so it sends itself back to its base to charge.
3. Housekeeping Robots
Another use for hotel robots is to support hotel housekeeping staff. While they can’t make beds or scrub toilets (yet), they do something even more important. They sanitize.
Since the emergence of Covid-19, there has been much focus on proper sanitization procedures to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Housekeeping robots are the hotel industry’s front line workers in this area.
These robots use broad-spectrum ultraviolet light to quickly and efficiently destroy viruses and bacteria within minutes. Because this type of ultraviolet light is not safe for human contact, after they are done their part, housekeeping staff send in these robots to work alone and give the rooms a high powered super sanitizing blitz.
Guest rooms are done after check out and public areas are looked after during the night when they are not as busy.
Pros And Cons Of Using Hotel Robots
As with everything, there are definitely pros and cons to using hotel robots.
For anyone who loves technology, opening their hotel room door and seeing a robot dropping off their extra towels would definitely be appealing.
Having hotel chatbots handle check in and check out makes for a much quicker and less stressful check in / check out process. It also eliminates the need to wait in a crowded lobby.
Because robots don’t have moods or feel fatigue, they provide a much more consistent level of service. There are no bad days resulting in fake smiles and flat facial expressions that can taint a guest’s experience.
Probably one of the biggest advantages of using robots is that they allow hotels to provide 24/7 contactless service. Robots can be regularly disinfected and they don’t carry or transmit diseases like humans do.
Interacting with a robot or another form of AI might pose a challenge to a less tech savvy guest. Much of this technology depends on the guest having access to a computer or a smart phone. Some travelers may not be comfortable with that.
Another disadvantage is that a robot is not able to provide the kind of personalized service that human interaction can. For example, a robot might have trouble handling a special request. It is limited by what it has been programmed to do.
By definition, the word “hospitality” implies being cared for and looked after. For many people, that includes a smile and a warm, welcoming tone of voice, neither of which can be provided by a hotel robot.
They are certainly programmed to more than adequately provide services but also, just as certainly, lack the EQ that makes travelers feel welcome.
Now that you know more about hotel robots, what do you think? Is it a cool experience or is it as impersonal as a self checkout at your local grocery store? Comment below and let us know what you think.
About the author: Liz Steeves has been a member of the Journo Team since 2019. She is a single mom who loves to write about all things travel related.