Fans of technology may particularly enjoy their next visit to an Edwardian Group London hotel, as 12 of its UK properties have recently introduced a robot concierge.
Named ‘Edward’ (naturally), the virtual assistant and chatbot is available in some of the group’s busier hotels, including Heathrow Airport and South Kensington.
Guests are able to send a text message to Edward to check or request hotel amenities, get restaurant information and submit complaints.
And it seems Edward is in good company, as growing demand for self-service options in the hotel and travel industry has seen the introduction of a number of hospitality-led robots.
Rise of the robots
In the Ghent Marriott Hotel, Belgium, a mini-humanoid robot named Mario has been assisting guests since 2015. He’s able to do a number of tasks, from giving directions in several languages to explaining the menu to diners.
Meanwhile, the Dorchester Collection has been using its AI helper, Metis, in a different way to keep guests satisfied – by reading through thousands of reviews. The technology has been compared to a giant, multi-lingual focus group that aims to help bosses react more directly to customers’ needs.
Robots in the air industry
Airlines and airports are joining in too – last year EasyJet appointed its first head of data science, who has been tasked with using artificial intelligence to improve everything from flight delays to ensuring onboard snacks don’t run out.
Geneva Airport has also trialled a robot to help passengers negotiate their baggage reclaim, while Tokyo’s Haneda Airport has been trialling robotic luggage transporters and cleaners.
As technology such as facial recognition and iris scanning becomes more commonplace, it means robots, rather than security staff, are increasingly the ones checking passports.
With robotic bartenders onboard Royal Caribbean ships, a humanoid robot joining the workforce at a Hilton in Virginia, and the Henn-Na Hotel in Japan – which made global headlines with the introduction of its android check-in team – edging towards being almost entirely robot-staffed, it seems a robotic revolution is well under way in the travel and hospitality industries.