Advanced technology in hotels that is not available in our homes has long been a foundation for attracting guests and improving services. Now, hotels find themselves in a rush to incorporate the latest cutting-edge gadgets and gizmos to achieve the ultimate in efficiency and to meet their guests’ demands.
Henn-na Hotel in Japan is leaps and bounds ahead of the industry by being the world’s first hotel to be staffed almost entirely by robots. Guests meet these automatons at the front desk, although a young Japanese woman in a business suit and a mock dinosaur in a bowtie are ready to help guests check in. A robot porter will then take luggage to guests’ rooms. The room doors themselves are unlocked through a retinal scanner on the side, and instead of a bedside panel, guests use a small robot to control all the settings in the room. And the trend isn’t restricted to Asia: The Hilton in Virginia has a robot concierge, while the Aloft hotel in California has a robot butler that delivers amenities right to guests’ doors.
Botlr, the Robotic Butler (Photo Credit: Aloft Cupertino)
Another step that some hotels have taken is to do away with telephones. Hotel apps accessed through guests’ smartphones are becoming very common. Interactions with hotel staff can now be completed through the app or via text messages. As is expected from the “me generation”, responses are almost instant and barely any human interaction takes place. In addition, smartphone apps add an extra dimension to the range of services that hotels can provide. hub by Premier Inn in London provides an app that controls settings in the room and also acts as a virtual guide to the region.
hub by Premier Inn, London (Photo Credit: hub by Premier Inn)
As the amount of integrated technology increases, the level of actual hospitality in what is known as the hospitality industry decreases. Hotels become much more efficient but are far less intimate. Is there a balance to be found between the two, or is this a preview of what homes will also be like in the future?