Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hotels Employ Robots

            Technology giant Toshiba has recently created robots that they hope will be able to run and maintain hotels in the near future.  Toshiba’s robot goes by the name of ChihiraKanae, and was first unveiled in Berlin. She speaks 19 languages and can engage in simple conversation with the hotels guests. This is not the first time robots have been used within the hospitality industry, with many being used as receptionists and concierge, as well as the cruise line Royal Caribbean installing robots as bartenders on many of their ships over the past year. These robots decrease costs, while also increasing efficiency in many areas. With this increase in knowledge and availability of robots, experts believe that the number of robotic service workers will increase dramatically throughout the next couple years. Despite the fact that this is a very interesting concept, I believe there may be many issues if robots become a commonality within the hospitality industry.
            The benefit of employing robots is that they can be programmed to be able to interact with a wide range of nationalities. The robots mentioned within this article are able to speak up to 19 different languages, which is many more then the average human. However, if the robots shut down due to a technological problem, causing many issues within the hotel.  Companies have to analyze the risk of investing in expensive new technology, and determine if they will be able to manage under any technological disruptions.
            One of the signs of a well-respected hotel is the level of human interaction and personality, which may suffer through the use of robots. Visitors want to feel at home and safe when staying at a hotel, and human interaction is usually a good indicator of the rating of a hotel. Research has shown that over two thirds of people would feel safe under the supervision of robots, however I feel as if people would be weary to stay in a new city when their hotel is staffed only by automated machines..  Also, the inventors have worked hard to increase the realistic aspects of their robots, increasing its ability to move and interact with other humans. The more realistic aspects of these robots the better, but I still struggle to believe that people would be willing to pay hefty hotel prices if their experience is managed only by robots.
            The most important aspect of robotic workers to analyze is the effect they would have on employment rates. In an article written by Martin Ford, he explains that robots are becoming more advanced, and can perform human tasks very efficiently. In the hotel industry, this puts support staff at risk of losing their jobs. Receptionists, cleaning staff, as well as cook and wait staff may soon be replaced with high tech machines. Although this technology is impressive and interesting, I believe it is more important for the economy to continue employing human individuals, and use robots only when completely necessary.

Works Cited
Ford, Martin. "Rise of the Machines: The Future Has Lots of Robots, Few Jobs for Humans." Conde Nast Digital, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.
Neild, Barry. "Why Your next Hotel Will Be Staffed by Robots." CNN. Cable News Network, 23 Mar. 2016. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.


  1. Companies, local retailers and now hotels are introducing the idea of using robots to help run day to day services. I have read a similar article where a robot is helping Lowe's consumers navigate their desired product around their huge wear houses. It helps with simple tasks of communicating with costumers and making their experience more pleasurable and efficient as wells as helping check inventory. Now , robots are being implemented into hotels acting as concierges, and receptionists. Megan mentioned that royal Caribbean cruise lines are now using robots as bartenders. In the bigger picture investing in robots to preform these task will be more cost effective but also means that these companies will be less willing to employee actual people. This could be problematic to the economy in the way that the employment rate will decrease. The positive aspect of using robots in the hospitality industry will help subsidize the language barrier for foreign guest. This will increase the value of stay for these future guest. This is something that I support. In each of these article that deal with introducing robots to their workplace the same concern and drawback is discussed each time. Using robots as employees will decrease the experience of human interaction and can also cause miscommunication. I mean that the robot can not hear you correctly and can cause the process to be actually slower and become frustrating. For myself If I were to check into a hotel I would rather talk to an actual human being rather than a machine. Things do not always go as planned and a problem can occur that the robot is not programed to handle. As technology continues increases robots acting as employees will increase as well. More companies will be more willing to invest in them and it will eventually become our norm. This is something we will have to get used and will have to prepare for any potential damages that it may cause.

  2. Megan, this was a very interesting blog to read. The implementation of robots does produce some benefits, like you mentioned. You said that they will be able to communicate with a wide range of different nationalities, which would be something very beneficial, especially if being used on a cruise ship and hotels where people from all over come to stay. Its language-speaking capacity would be greater than that of a human's capacity, since it could speak up to 19 different languages.
    However, in my opinion there are many downsides to this implementation as well. For one, what happens if the robots shut down or stop working while they are on the job? Who will customers be able to communicate with? In addition, many employees will lose their jobs due to robot replacements. Also, I feel that if people are replaced by robots, that reduces the connection from person to person. People won't be able to talk to or have conversations with robots, like they do with actual people. Robots, to me, would appear to be less personable and when I think of going to hotels or on a cruise, I really enjoy the friendliness that comes from the staff working there.

  3. It is really interesting how many different job markets can potentially be put in danger due to the technology of new robots. I had not heard about hotels or Royal Caribbean cruises employing or considering employing robots. Often times the companies that employ robots, have the robots working in more behind the scenes aspects such as manufacturing or moving items around a warehouse. It is interesting that robots could become our hotel receptionist in the coming years.
    Although when all goes smoothly, I would have no issue with a robot as a receptionist, I think that when people have an issue they will get more frustrated with a robot than with a real person. People could be more likely to yell at a robot than a real person, which could be extremely disruptive to other guest.
    I would be curious to see how this would effect the price of staying in a hotel. If hotels employ robots, they would be saving money since they no longer have to pay for employees. This could potentially make hotel costs cheaper. Since there is a certain percentage of people that would not want to stay in a hotel with robots as employees, I don’t foresee all of the support staff in hotel industry losing their jobs. Maybe down the road robot based hotels could be a more affordable option, while those who want actual human receptionist and wait staff could pay current or slightly higher price to stay at a normal hotel?


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