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Are Robots the Next Step in Hospitality?

When guests check in to hotels, a real human being behind the reception desk greets you and handles your reservation. You receive your key, head to your room and maybe phone down to the reception for extra towels or room service. However, several hotels are shifting away from letting staff deliver room service and check in guests by implementing robots on their properties.
According to the New York Times, last August, the Aloft Cupertino introduced its first robot staff member called Boltr. The robot is made by Silicon Valley company Savioke. Called Relay, the company’s robot can bring small items to rooms and even make room service deliveries. The robot measures just three feet tall.
It would appear Aloft was pleased with Boltr’s work at its Cupertino location that the hotel chain added another robot to its Silicon Valley property earlier this year. Other hotels are catching on to the trend too including the Crowne Plaza San Jose-Silicon Valley and the Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki, Japan.
The Henn-na Hotel takes the robot trend in hospitality a bit further by staffing mostly robots for guests to interact with throughout their stay according to CBS News. One of the robots is even aimed at appealing to kids as it is modeled into a dinosaur.
Critics say that robots at hotels are merely a gimmick and replace jobs in the process. Others contend they can help cut labor costs and even make a guest have better service.
Hotels aren’t the only outlets in the hospitality industry to add robots to their payroll. Cruise ships such as Caribbean International’s new Quantum of the Seas features robots both to entertain passengers and also to act as bartenders, mixing up cocktails when ordered.
While the rest of the world’s hotels and cruise ships might be a long way off from adding robots to their properties and ships, a select few will act as guinea pigs to see if guests actually like the novelty of robots or would rather deal with a real, live human being.
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About the author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at http://suzyguese.com.

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