“Robots will be able to do everything better than us…I am not sure exactly what to do about this. This is really the scariest problem to me.”
While some of the thought leaders in the AI movement like Elon Musk (quoted above) are apprehensive—or even outright fearful—of a future full of robots, many in the hospitality industry are ready to embrace the technology. An AI-driven workforce has numerous advantages, after all. Lower long-term costs, superior quality control, 100% loyalty, reliability, and more logical reasons grant owners of venues with an easy decision to ride the wave of new technology. Let’s see some examples…
- Robots enter the hotel industry: Hilton has entered the AI-driven game with “Connie,” a fully automated robot concierge. She (using the ‘she’ pronoun as loosely as possible) can interact with guests and answer questions regarding the city of the hotel, room queries, and assisting with a guest stay promptly without judgment.
- Robots at airports and hotel check-ins: An increasing number of hotels and airports are using robot-based technologies to assist in the check-in experience for guests/travelers visiting around the world. Again, the advantages are clear. Faster response time to simple tasks, an ability to interact seamlessly in multiple languages, 100% consistent behavior patterns—again, to name a few.
- Robots for security purposes: Robots have also been deployed at several locations—predominantly at airports—to ensure the safety of all guests in the terminal and then on the plane. The robots are programmed to detect any sort of concealed weapon and immediately report it to proper authorities in the hope of keeping everyone out of harm’s way.
By the time this article is published, robots will likely be found useful for even more sectors of the hospitality industry. It remains to be seen, though, how the push for AI driven services will affect customer experiences in hotels, airports, restaurants, and more. What is more important to the consumer? Is it consistent, failproof service or is it the human experience of interacting with a real person with his or her own unique perspectives?
It is exciting to look forward to see which companies find the perfect balance between automation for cost savings and reliability compared to the more expensive, less reliable human employees providing the oft-desired human experience. We will find out in the future.
Reference and data from