Resorts of the Future
Helpful robots are providing buzz, efficiency and fun for resorts and their guests.
Robots are coming to a resort near you, as predicted (check out “Tech Forecast 2016,” in the Q1 edition of RCI® Ventures magazine). From humanoid cyborgs that help with check-in to robot butlers that deliver room service or fresh towels, resorts are investing in automation.
And travelers are warming up to the idea of service by robot. In Travelzoo’s March 2016 “Future of Travel” study, nearly two-thirds of 6,000 people surveyed were comfortable with being taken care of by robots while on vacation—a fact that Japan’s new Henn-na hotel is betting on.
Opened in early 2016 in the Nagasaki prefecture, Henn-na is staffed almost entirely by robots. Owner Hideo Sawada hopes the robot staff will make Henn-na into the world’s most efficient hotel. Guests can check-in with a robotic velociraptor, ask a cyborg to order a taxi and rely on an in-room robot to switch on the lights, provide weather forecasts and make wake-up calls.
Here are some other examples of robotic help:
This concept can be applied to complete an array of mundane tasks. At the Henn-na and the Yotel New York hotel in particular, a robotic arm operates within a glass-enclosed room filled with lockers that look like safe-deposit boxes. Here guests can request a box, wait for the high-tech arm to grab one and then drop in valuable items for safekeeping.
This past March, Hilton and IBM began piloting their robot concierge, Connie, at the Hilton McLean property in Virginia. Connie is a humanoid figure powered by IBM’s cognitive computing technology platform. Guests can approach Connie for advice on tourist attractions, dining recommendations and more.
The capital investment arm of Google, GV, has backed robot innovator Savioke to create a robot called Relay, which will change how resorts provide service to guests. Weighing in at 100 pounds and a mere three feet tall, Relay can deliver toothbrushes, razor kits and even Starbucks orders to resort guests in a matter of minutes.
Of course, significant robot integration will never replace stellar services achievable with only a human touch. But sometimes guests may prefer to deal with a machine instead. “Think about a late-night request, or if you don’t have change for a tip,” says Steve Cousins, CEO of Savioke. “In these cases the anonymity of a robot is perfect.”
Photo credit: Savioke