The global pandemic has thrust the hospitality industry into a sort of limbo. All non-essential travel has come to a halt and a billion dollar industry is reeling from its effects. Something that no one could foresee is the use of hotel robots during this time. Hotel robots are helping to facilitate social distancing models of operations in hotels to enable safe and quicker re-openings.
Hotel robots have been introduced to the hospitality industry and have been in use for some time now. But now, more than ever, hotel robots have become more relevant than ever during the current global pandemic. From cleaning, to service and delivery, they bring a new meaning to contactless and social distancing. Keep reading to see how.
How are they helping out hotels?
Sooner rather than later, you’ll be receiving your room service or extra towels delivered to your door via robot rather than a person. It is generally considered safe to stay or work at a hotel during the pandemic as long hotels are managing their capacity constraints, fully abiding by industry standards for hygiene and social distancing and as guests are carefully following protocols and policies.
In one example, the Hotel Trio in Healdsburg, California (a Marriott hotel), Rosé the robot was introduced in 2018 to entertain guests, however, her position has evolved into the “social distancing robot ambassador” in light of the current pandemic. Rosé’s got contactless delivery covered by delivering anything and everything from pillows, towels and groceries and is sanitized after each delivery. Hotels robots started off as attracting guests because entertainment value has now become increasingly popular with the capabilities beyond just their use for fun.
Did we mention, they also clean?
Many industries have been forced to reinvent their processes and operations to accommodate this new normal of contactless interactions. Over 400 hospitals in the US have been using ‘LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots’ to clean and disinfect their properties. These robots use xenon UV light pulses to kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi within minutes. Peer reviewed studies that were published by the company found that these germ-zapping robots decreased environmental infection rates between 50-100%.
These robots don’t come cheap, costing $100,000 each a pop. They also do not replace regular cleaning done by the property. They come in afterwards and provide a hyper-sterilizing last touch blast without added chemicals.
Pearl Hospitality in the US, has since adopted the LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robot to add another step to their current disinfectant protocol and to provide guests and clients with an additional level of well-being. Hotels such as the Westin Houston Medical center, Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills and The Beverly Hilton in California are using the Xenex LightStrike robots. They run for 8-10 minutes after each cleaned room, and also assist with sterilizing public washrooms, elevators, meeting rooms and disinfect luggage. These hotel robots require no supervision and work alone, overnight in the public spaces and in each guest room after the guest has checkout.
Archit Sanghvi, VP of Operations of Pearl Hospitality comments on the high price tag, “It is an expensive investment, but we know we made the right decision because this is going to be the norm, sadly”.
Proactive businesses who are prepared to take on a progressive innovation are understanding how these new technologies will benefit in the long term. Afterall, we are in the age of the new normal, and our day-to-day won’t look the same in a post-pandemic world. What do you think of hotel robots? Are they here to stay? Or do you think they’re a short term solution for the current crisis our world is facing?