The travel industry as a whole has been struggling to cope with massive staff shortages lingering on since the pandemic began. While airlines have cut flights and sped up security checks, hotels have started to get more creative with their solutions — in this case, by bringing in robots.
A growing number of hotels, including big names like Mandarin Oriental and Holiday Inn Express, have already installed robots to carry out customer service tasks like delivering extra towels or food orders. The surprisingly cute rolling machines are decked out in bowties and sport names like Alfred and Geoffrey. While they’re unable to knock on doors, they will notify you of their presence using a specialized app.
They even try to bridge the human-robot gap by adding some personality through messages and jokes on their digital screens. The bots are equipped with sensors to avoid crashes and sealed compartments to prevent anyone else from getting their hands on deliveries.
Unions aren’t happy, however, suggesting that the growth of such technology threatens hotel workers’ livelihoods across the country. Hotel managers have countered, arguing that they are left with little choice without more people interested in working in the hotel industry.