Why Hotels Should Learn to Love Robot Technology
The guest experience is getting upgraded at many hotels today thanks to innovative robot technology.
Aloft Hotels first introduced the world’s first robotic concierge in the early 2000s, and in 2014, they brought Botlr, a robot butler service, to the team. These AI enhancements increased the guest experience through shorter wait times for room deliveries and improved housekeeping operations efficiency. Aloft may have led the way, but other hotel chains are quickly catching on to the advantages of robotic services.
Some challenges could offset these advantages due to the costs of implementing and maintaining the robotic infrastructure and a lack of industry-wide standards for hotel robots. Still, the increasing need to provide services with a lack of available workers means hotels will likely continue to look towards robotics to find solutions. Experts predict the global market for hotel robots will grow to $338 million by 2025.
Robert Rauch, hotel entrepreneur, Managing Partner, Hilton Campus Del Mar, faculty associate at the School of Community Resources & Development at Arizona State University, and CEO of RAR Hospitality, see the efficiency benefits of bringing robotics to both front- and back-of-house hotel operations as multi-layered. Beyond that, though, Rauch sees the investment as a smart move for increasing hotel profit margins.
“I’ve got to tell you, robotics is the future. We have two types of robots. One is a service robot, the other is a vacuuming robot. So the service robot we’ve had for six years now, and I can tell you the guests see the service robot at the front desk. By the time they’re up in their room asking for either food, beverage, or supplies, they ask for the robot.
Now, is it because they don’t have to leave a tip? No. Really, they are just wowed by interacting with the robot. So what else does the robot do? If you have an 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM shift where you have one employee in the hotel, because it’s a limited service hotel, you’ve got better security because the delivery’s made by the robot. Also, you’ll be able to tell if the WiFi system is not working because it works on the WiFi system, so it’ll tell you if there’s a problem, and it also has a camera and sees any security issue in the hotel. So, highly recommend getting a service robot.
Relative to vacuuming robots, while we’ve only had them for about six or seven months now, I can tell you that it reduces pressure on the housekeeper’s backs and also creates a productive environment where the housekeeper’s cleaning the bathroom while the robot is vacuuming the floor in the bedroom. So, why get involved? Great PR, your guests will love it, your employees will love it, and it’ll help your productivity.”
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