Tomorrow's Hospitality A-Z – Navigating the future

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Success in hospitality is inevitably linked to cost-profit optimization. And technology in hospitality is the response to this need. Some hoteliers fear that the frequency with which new hospitality technology hits the market can impact the quality of the guest experience they provide and often dismiss many of the innovations employed by others. However, this more conservative approach to innovation rarely pays off for the hotelier.

Authors: Tony Alfonso

A key challenge is to determine how the technology can help without impacting the customer experience.

An example of this was Henn na Hotel in Japan. Certified by Guinness World Records as the first hotel with working robots, the Henn na Hotel was the brainchild of Hideo Sawade, a Japanese travel tycoon and opened in 2015.

Reports had indicated that there may be a shortage of as many as 3,000 hotel rooms in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics and it was thought that robot-staffed hotels may be part of the solution to this problem.

Hotels in Japan incorporated the latest technologies at the time. From reception to room service and from security to cleaning, many of the services at these hotels were provided by robots. Some robots resembled human employees in a weird, but accurate way. Others were friendly dinosaurs who could speak to you in Japanese, English, Chinese or Korean.

Guests arriving at the hotels may be checked in by a robot. Another robot may transport suitcases and escort guests to their room, which had just been cleaned by a robot. Face recognition technology may open the bedroom door and turn on the AC automatically. Even the wardrobes were powered by technology and when guests hung their clothes, the wardrobes cleaned and ironed them automatically using TrueSteam™ technology.

Key takeaways
  • Technology can reduce costs for hoteliers.
  • The hospitality robots market is expected to grow significantly.
  • Current technology cannot replace human interaction, but this may change.
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