Nagasaki’s Henn-na Hotel will feature ten robotic, but startlingly human-like, members of staff. Now scientists are working on them being able to sweat and have goose-bumps.
The robot will check you in, take your bags, and escort you to your room in a new Japanese hotel that hopes to free itself of human employees.
The Henn-na Hotel, set in the middle of a theme park in Nagasaki, Japan, will become the first robot-staffed hotel when it opens this summer. These metal-and-silicone employees will speak and understand Chinese, Japanese, Korean and English, ensuring that tourists near and far can interact with the startlingly human-like maids, receptionists, and porters. They look human, if a little addicted to Botox and fillers.
The plans, announced by the Japanese government at the end of January, show off a prototype check-in counter lined with identical female bots.
They will be built by a Japanese robotics company called Kokoro, so-named for a famous book about the transition of society from traditional to modern. This particular model—the Actroid—has been in development since 2003.
A new hotel that is staffed with robots has opened in Japan. The Henn-na Hotel (which translates as “Strange Hotel”), is part of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park complex in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture. Guests can also access their rooms via face-recognition, and are able to control room amenities via tablets.
The Henn-na Hotel was designed by Kawazoe Lab, the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo, and Kajima Corporation. As well as aiming to provide a pleasant and comfortable stay for guests, the hotel was designed to be cost-effective, modern, environmentally-friendly and fun.
Robots are deployed at the front desk to help guests check-in and out. According to the Henn-na Hotel, it’s possible to hold a conversation with the “warm” and “friendly” robots while they get on with their work. Alternatively, self-service check-in and check-out eliminates the need to go to the front desk or to wait in line.
There are porter robots employed to carry luggage to and from rooms, and cleaning robots employed to keep the hotel spotless of their own accord. There is also a robot employed in the cloak room. Objects up to the size of small bags can be handed over and the
Mobile, millennials and technology will be among the trends that take center stage during 2015, panelists said during a webinar.REPORT FROM THE U.S.—The trends that will dominate 2015 look a lot like the trends that dominated in 2014, panelists said during a webinar on Thursday.
Mobile, millennials, health and wellness, business travel and supply are all likely to be talking points in the industry during 2015, the panelists said during the online panel “The guest experience: Top trends to look for in 2015.”
Hotel companies scurried during 2014 to cater to the up-and-coming millennial generation. Brands, such as Marriott International’s rollout of Moxy, have been trying to capture this increasingly traveling demographic.
Niki Leondakis, CEO of Commune Hotels & Resorts, said her company’s new Tommie brand, while not aimed specifically at millennials, was designed for people who have a more youthful attitude toward travel.
She said the brand, which will open its first property next summer in the Hudson Square neighborhood of Manhattan, will have a more “affordable price” for younger travelers.
“Research shows millennials define luxury by functionality over price tag,” she said. “Millennials are inclusive by nature and want to learn and grow by meeting others through travel.”
Anthony Ingham, VP of luxury
In the coming year, hotels will focus on enhancing guest experience through convenience and wellness initiatives, RevPAR improvement through direct bookings, and ancillary revenue streams. Hotels that innovate in response to evolving consumer preferences will find success in driving growth and profitability in 2015. Applied Predictive Technologies (APT) offers its top five predictions for hotels in 2015.
Introducing self-service and mobile check-in
Consumers widely use ATMs instead of tellers at banks and check-in for flights online – why not extend that same convenience to hotel stays? Leading hotel chains are experimenting with self-service check-in initiatives, including Marriott’s check-in kiosks and Starwood’s keyless entry via mobile devices. Potential advantages from these programs include more consistent upsell opportunities, labor savings, and, perhaps most importantly, alignment of the hotel experience with guests’ increasing preference for convenience. However, the impact of reducing face-to-face interactions with hotel staff on guest satisfaction and return bookings is likely to vary by guest segment (e.g., business vs. leisure). Given the associated risk, hotel executives will benefit from testing self-service check-in initiatives in a subset of hotels or markets prior to broad implementation.
Motivating guests to book direct through brand.com
Not all bookings are created equal, and hotel chains are exploring