Robots and artificial intelligence offer challenges and opportunities for the hotel industry

Robots and artificial intelligence offer challenges and opportunities for the hotel industry


Friendly and generous human interaction is the heart of good hospitality, whether it is a hotel, restaurant or club.

What does hospitality look like and how does it feel when human workers are replaced by machines?

This is already happening all over the world, from robots that run hotel receptions to machines that can grill burgers. Experts predict that robots will make up 25 percent of the hotel workforce by 2030, providing challenges and opportunities for an industry that has traditionally been slowed down by the adoption of new technology.

Professors John Bowen and Cristian Morosan of the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston recently published one of the first studies on the biggest disturbances caused by robots in the hotel industry. A study published in Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes examines how service delivery systems should be redesigned to maximize the benefits of robots while maintaining genuine customer service.

  • The turnover of the catering industry is high in many entry-level positions. Robots are great for repetitive tasks like cooking, cleaning and even delivery, Bowen says. – We are already seeing some large hotels replacing reception staff with automatic kiosks. The machines take these drives, which can lead to a more flawless product.

Globally, labor shortages play a role in the demand for robots, as does the need to communicate with more and more international travelers in the study “Beware of Hospitality; Robot Hotel Check-In Systems Can Respond to Many Languages ​​and Cultural Differences and Expectations.

The new systems need to be seamlessly integrated into the service environment, while being attractive and easy to use for consumers of all ages. Researchers predict that companies adopting artificial intelligence and robotics will have a competitive advantage.

“It’s a way for hotels to make customer waiting times more efficient and shorter,” Bowen says. Ultimately, it leads to a better visiting experience and creates added value for the customer.

The use of customer data has long been a challenge for the tourism industry. By developing systems that teach consumer behavior, companies can introduce products or services tailored to customer preferences. For example, if hotel guests have ordered a particular red wine during a previous visit, they may be offered the same wine as one of their choice on subsequent visits.

However, researchers warn that guest data should be used discreetly and securely. The customer may not travel with the same partner as, for example, during the previous trip.

“Customers bring a lot of information to the hospitality experience, including credit card and ID information and through a mobile device. If companies can determine behavioral information such as what you buy and when, they can use that information and learn from it. Improve the customer experience,” said Morosan.


The study also predicts that robots will save the customer time and money by providing previously affordable services.

“Autonomous cars, a kind of robot, pick up guests from the airport. If they are not checked in at the hotel, the car can check them in and set the smartphone to use it as a key. Based on the customer information available to the guests, He is able to ask questions and based on the answers the car can be booked according to the guest’s research. – Go to the hotel, the guest can see and ask about the large stadium across the river The car identifies the building and then provides information at the stadium .

As we know, hospitality is being redefined during the robot revolution, and while some companies succeed, others can go bankrupt if they can’t find the right mix of hospitality and technology.

  • We need to combine high technology with high contact. I don’t think the hospitality perspective will ever disappear no matter how many robots are used. We just have to find the right combination of artificial intelligence and human touch, Morosan says. “For example, four and five beginner hotels still retain a human scale