Hotel Robots Get Second Life as Industry Adapts to Covid-19


Source: The Wall Street Journal
By Will Parker

August 11, 2020

Robots that delivered a burger and fries a few years ago were a high-tech gimmick that gave hotel guests a good laugh. Now, some manufacturers suggest these machines could help guests stay safe during a global pandemic.

Hoteliers and robotics companies say delivery bots like Relay, produced by the Google Ventures-backed Savioke Inc., are cutting down on potentially unsafe interactions between hotel staff and room guests, by offering contactless room service. And cleaning robots, like Maidbot’s Rosie, are vacuuming hallway floors while cleaning crews spend more time than ever sanitizing rooms.

The use of robots in the hotel industry has concerned some that these machines could eventually be used to replace employees. Many U.S. hotels have reduced staff during the pandemic, and although hotel operators and robotics companies insist robots help rather than reduce staff, robots could limit how much extra labor hotels bring on to meet new sanitation demands.

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