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Photo: Henn na Hotel

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Stay at a robot hotel

Hotels employing robots instead of human staff remain a novelty, but the use of automatons to carry out basic tasks in hotels is on the rise. Will it just be a matter of time before humans are replaced entirely?

Japan’s Henn na Hotel, which translates to “strange” Hotel, made headlines when it announced its staff would be mostly robots, including a dinosaur bellhop.

Quirky and, well, a bit strange, it seemed more a novelty than anything else. Indeed, earlier this year, the hotel retired half of its robots after finding they were creating more work than they were doing.

The velociraptors at reception also, sadly, faced the recycling depot. But that doesn’t mean there’s no place in a hotel for robot workers, at least not judging by the latest moves at some of the major tourism and retail chains. Ali Baba opened its first fully automated hotel in Hangzhou, China this year. There, robots deliver food and drop off towels, and room doors are opened by face scan.

The robot cloak room at Henna na Hotel. Photo: Henna na Hotel.

In fact, the hotel acts as an incubator for new technology, much of it designed to replace expensive human staff. AtYotel Hotels, the company is increasingly using its “Yobot” to collect and deliver guests’ luggage. Meanwhile, Hilton is working on a robot that can offer destination advice and other information to guests. It seems we may see an increasing number of robots roaming the hallways of hotels in the coming years, although it seems a ways off before they’ll replace check-in and other human staff entirely. 

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