Here in Europe, most of us are looking forward to a well-earned summer holiday. However, we don’t want to leave you without giving you an update of our latest activities.
Our German SIHOT team recently took part in an annual company fun run competition. While the runners had rely on their own muscularity, we have checked out areas where robots are starting to become useful helpers. In this context, we’d like to introduce you to the SIHOT.Kiosk – a valuable addition to the check-in operation at the front desk, especially in business hotels.
We’ve also published new online tutorials that you’ll find on our homepage as well on our YouTube channel.
Happy reading and if you’re going on vacation: enjoy!
Jörg P. Berger
Fit and Sporty
Over 200 companies with a total of 2500 runners took part in a 5 km run through our regional capital of Saarbrucken in June. While all of our 22 GUBSE team members reached the finish line in reasonable times, some were faster than others: Project Manager Michael Wernet managed a new GUBSE-record of 21:40,7 minutes. Following company tradition, the runners and their helpers all enjoyed a picnic afterwards and the after-run-party that followed.
Robotic Workforce in Hotels
A global research on robots and artificial intelligence in the hotel industry conducted by Travelzoo, a global media commerce company, offers valuable insights into consumer acceptance. The research aimed to find out how comfortable travellers are with robots, whether they believe robots will improve their experience and which nationalities are most accepting of robots.
It turns out, that most travellers believe, robots could improve service in the hotel industry:
- 62 % welcome robots on hotel check-in desks
- 68 % welcome robots for room service
- 73 % welcome robots as hotel porters
- 69 % welcome robots as waiters
The study claims that travelers are most comfortable if robots at hotel receptions are supplemented by actual persons. In other areas, robots are more welcome – a trend playing into the hands of Starwood hotels, who are already using a robot butler at selected properties. ‘Botlr’ delivers drinks, snacks and amenities to the rooms and also records the guest’s feedback.
Would you have guessed it? According to the study, Chinese and Brazilian travelers are the most accepting of robots in hotels, French and Germans the least. Almost 2/3 of Japanese travelers would prefer a robot hotel receptionist to look like a machine. More than 50% of US travelers would prefer the efficiency of a robot receptionist who can answer all their questions to a less apt human. They should visit the Marriott Hotel in Gent, Belgium: they will be greeted by Mario who is fluent not only in English, but also 18 other languages.
Not surprisingly, Japan already has a hotel that is run almost entirely by robots. At the Henn-Na Hotel, guest are greeted by a stunningly realistic female robot receptionist and two dinosaur bellhops. A porter robot accompanies guests to their rooms, where they can open their door by facial-recognition technology. Inside the room, a miniature robot acts as personal assistant, giving information and even controlling the lights.
Robots are winning hands down when it comes to uninterrupted energy levels, following specified processes, data processing and mastering different languages. It is, however, widely believed that only a limited number of employees will be eventually replaced by robots, especially in the 4- and 5-star market. While they will have their place in lower market segments, they are rational, without social competence and humour. As such they cannot compete with humans when it comes to showing emotions and feelings, displaying a strong personality and using creativity. Understanding cultural and linguistic subtleties is another human characteristic that robots have yet to master.
SIHOT.Kiosk – A Check-In Terminal for Your Guests
When travelling today, we’re already using a multitude of machine services: at the airport, a check-in terminal prints boarding cards, train tickets come out of a ticket machine and of course, we draw our money from ATMs all over the world.
Often, consumers have a choice whether to use a machine or engage with a friendly staff member at the counter. Therefore, many hotel guests are open to use a kiosk for their check-in and check-out. Especially business travellers appreciate not having to queue when pressed for time and not having to chitchat when they just want to go to their rooms.
However, many guests appreciate the assistance of a real person. A kiosk may not be fully able to replace a receptionist with an open ear and special recommendations, but it may be a valuable addition to offer guests exactly the type of service they prefer at that time.
The module SIHOT.Kiosk is directly integrated into the SIHOT hotel management solution and enables guests to carry out a comfortable self-check-in and self-check-out.