Robots in the Hospitality Industry; The Questions that Should be Asked

What kinds of robots are they using?  Robot bellman, the robot butler, and the robot hotel concierge.

What is the cost of using them? The implementation of these robots would reduce the cost for the establishments which use them. They save the company potential PR disasters, which in turn, saves them money. A negative cost could surface in the future as an employment crisis due to over-automation. While people may think the initial purchase of an advanced robot is quite high, it is important to note that they do not get paid weekly. So a robot that cost 100k to purchase will save the hotel money if the yearly salary of a human is 50k by the second year. Environmentally the effects are still being discovered, but this is something that the companies will be able to adjust to to please those concerned with the environment.

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What are the savings? Imagine that the average hospitality employee only makes $50,000 in a year. Then imagine if a bot cost $100,000 to purchase and to make it fair lets factor a 10k a year service budget. The robot would be able to pay for itself within the first three years of purchase; so you save money, they also save time. Many of the robots process transactions considerably faster than humans do. You would essentially save training cost because it costs money and time to train a new employee where as you buy a pre programed robot that only requires some batteries to operate in a similar way.

What jobs are displaced by robots in Hospitality? When?

  • Creation of new positions such as technology maintenance (2030)
  • Chat bots which allow hotels to provide 24 hour service (2016)
  • Check in robots reduce congestion (2016)
  • Robot concierges answer customer questions (2016)
  • Autonomous suitcases frees up the hands of travelers (2016)
  • Service bots clean and adjust rooms, freeing up human workers (2017)
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Are humans adapting along with their robot co-workers/boss in Hospitality? Yes, in fact there are reports of humans being bumped up the industrial food chain as menial labor tasks are being occupied with more and more robots. This does involve some people losing their jobs, but is a great benefit to those who remain. Thus, it instills an aura of competition within the various employees of this industry.

How do these robots help/hurt the human workers in hospitality? Robots allow minor tasks to be done much quicker and more efficiently. This allows workers to focus on more complicated tasks while a robot can do work such as folding towels or allowing hotel customers to check in. The down side to this is that these robots replace human workers, which puts these people out of work.

What are the long-term ramifications of robot displacement of humans in hospitality? Many hotels will be against the ideas of being fully automated because of customers wanting a personal, caring experience. The hospitality industry however will become partially automated as technology continues to advance. This will lead to workers losing their jobs, which would harm the economy. The more robots that are used, the more capital the owner can make.

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Who ends up buying a company’s products and/or services when so many humans are displaced by robots in hospitality? The purchasing of products from the hospitality industry will not lessen with robots displacing humans. Robots make this industry more effective and humans will still be able to purchase products and services with other human workers being displaced.

What should educational institutions do to prepare students to compete in a world where robots are doing blue-collar and/or white-collar jobs in hospitality? In the educational field, preparing for new types of jobs has been a common theme throughout all of history. Throughout the industrial revolution, and the growth of different sectors of business, humans have adapted with their education to allow for them to participate in newer jobs. In the same way, education must turn toward new jobs that will be available because of the presence of robots. Education must turn toward fixing robots and towards new jobs that will require people to make the hospitality industry even better with the presence of robots.

What is the end-game? The hospitality industry throughout its time and to this point today has had a deprivation of service employees. Even the addition of robots won’t really change the amount of jobs available in this service sector. The hospitality industry in the end will not necessarily lose jobs and it may not gain jobs either, but the types of jobs might change in the hospitality industry.