Will robot receptionists take our place?

robot receptionist

Robots are already present on a large scale in industrial production. There are advanced machines capable of building and producing complex parts on a large scale with unique efficiency and with almost zero margins of error.

The receptionist robots are appearing in the hospitality sector and some accommodation facilities that we can consider both as avant-garde and niche are already adopting them to welcome their customers.

Is the robot receptionist part of the Hospitality 4.0 revolution?

In our podcast we continuously talk about automation of production processes and we define this trend as “Hospitality 4.0″, therefore it is legitimate to ask whether receptionist robots also have a place within context 4.0.

Before answering this question, however, we must understand where to draw the dividing line between those operations that must be automated because they are intrinsically subject to errors and those operations that necessarily need a human touch.

To give an example we can think of the channel manager; the channel is one of the first software tools that was introduced on a large scale in the hotel in order to automate a process of a long, repetitive and expensive nature in the event of an error.

An error of synchronization of an online distribution portal (OTA) turns out to be expensive because it involves the obligation to reprotect a possible overbooking with all the costs that follow.

If instead we think of other types of operations such as:

  • welcoming a client who arrived tired after a long journey;
  • provide useful recommendations on things to do or see in the city;
  • handle a conflict or problem that arose while staying at the facility.

It is evident that these are operations that only a human being (prepared and competent) is able to manage in the best way. Managing a situation of this type well is not always trivial and the management aspects are almost infinite.

Offer hospitality … don’t just sell rooms

In our blog and in our corporate vision we talk about “hospitality“, a term not taken by chance!

Hospitality is a very specific concept that is profoundly different from the “sale of rooms”.

Offering hospitality means presenting the customer with that something extra; open the doors of your structure to a traveler who, whether he comes to us for pleasure or for work, wants to discover our places for a few days.

For these reasons, thinking that all front desk operations are delegated to a robot is not part of the “hospitality 4.0” vision.

This does not mean that in a future dominated by cyborgs, there will be no robots capable of carrying out acceptance, concierge and booking activities … we cannot know exactly.
But what we can say is that already today we are at the center of a great revolution in the way of doing hospitality, and the boundary between what has to be delegated to machines and what has to be done by hand is still easily understood.

What we need to automate and what we need to do with the (human) heart

The automation of company production processes is in their opinion the cornerstone of good hotel management. So all those cumbersome, boring and “dangerous” operations must necessarily be automated.

Another type of operations that need to be “modernized” are those that require manipulation of data and information. Thinking about having different software that does similar things without passing the data between them makes daily work inefficient and frustrating.

So to summarize, we leave the machines the repetitive and tedious tasks for which they have been designed and we hoteliers keep tight and passionately do those jobs that we know how to do better, that is to interface with the customer to offer a quality experience.