Friday 18 June 2021

Your Next Hotel May Be Staffed By Robots

Robots in hotels – Robot receptionist ChihiraKanae, created by engineers at Toshiba, made a recent appearance in Berlin. She speaks 19 languages and, as she's fond of telling random strangers, is a Gemini.
Robots in hotels – Robot receptionist ChihiraKanae, created by engineers at Toshiba, made a recent appearance in Berlin. She speaks 19 languages and, as she’s fond of telling random strangers, is a Gemini.

QTRAVEL via CNN – In a science fiction future, we’ll arrive at the hotel in our driverless taxi, check in at the reception desk staffed by androids then follow the robot porter as it carries our bags to our room.
Except, of course, this is already science fact.

Robots are already working in some hotels — the Henn-na Hotel in Sasebo, Japan is staffed entirely by machines including one, bizarrely, resembling a dinosaur.

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Who's running the show? – Travelzoo's European president, Richard Singer, points out that the Japanese robot hotel has humans working behind the scene. "I would be very surprised if we get to the point where hotels are entirely manned by robots."
Who’s running the show? – Travelzoo’s European president, Richard Singer, points out that the Japanese robot hotel has humans working behind the scene. “I would be very surprised if we get to the point where hotels are entirely manned by robots.”

But that’s just how things roll in high-tech Japan, right?

Nope, robots are now making an appearance in hotels around the planet — and more are on their way.
In a Marriott hotel in Ghent, Belgium, a diminutive humanoid robot named Mario has been working since June 2015.

He welcomes guests in 19 languages and guards the buffet.

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A similar device, this one powered by IBM’s human-mimicking Watson computer, has just taken up a concierge position at a Hilton McLean hotel in Virginia.

Last year, Royal Caribbean installed cocktail-mixing robot bartenders on several of its cruise ships.

Gimmicks, yes, but their developers promise they’re getting more sophisticated by the month. Mario will soon learn how to order taxis.
So the rise of the hotel machines seems unstoppable, but will it come at the cost of human interaction and human jobs?
And will guests really want to stay in robot-run hotels?
These questions are clearly taxing travel and tourism experts, who spent much of a recent major industry trade event, ITB Berlin, discussing their implications.

Ghent Marriott – Mario helps welcome guests to the Ghent Marriott in Belgium. He speaks multiple languages and -- unlike humans -- can make PowerPoint presentations interesting.
Ghent Marriott – Mario helps welcome guests to the Ghent Marriott in Belgium. He speaks multiple languages and — unlike humans — can make PowerPoint presentations interesting.

“A lot of jobs considered non-automatable in the past are now considered to be automatable,” Oxford University’s Carl Benedikt Frey, an expert on technology and employment, told delegates.
Frey and fellow academics have ranked jobs in terms of how likely they are to be computerized in a study that shows some travel and tourism jobs more at risk than others.

Dance moves – Like his healthcare colleagues, Mario never fails to raise a smile, says Ghent Marriott General Manager Roger Langhout. He says the robot won't put anyone out of a job.
Dance moves – Like his healthcare colleagues, Mario never fails to raise a smile, says Ghent Marriott General Manager Roger Langhout. He says the robot won’t put anyone out of a job.

Recreational therapists, such as those who work in wellness resorts, are at the safe end of the scale.
Tour guides face much gloomier prospects — although Frey said that depends heavily on circumstance.
“Someone standing on a bus with a microphone and someone riding on a horse with you across the Alps are very different,” he said. “The first is quite automatable, the second is not.”

More robots to come – These robots were a novelty installation in a Japanese Sheraton, but plenty of more practical robots are on the way. A Travelzoo survey suggests two thirds of us are happy to be looked after by machines.
More robots to come – These robots were a novelty installation in a Japanese Sheraton, but plenty of more practical robots are on the way. A Travelzoo survey suggests two thirds of us are happy to be looked after by machines.

Read more at CNN Style

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FACT CHECK:
We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

Q24N
Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

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