Room service robots are being deployed in hotels across the country, helping staff at a time when the industry is facing a labor shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Savioke Relay Plus robots take on simple tasks such as providing room service, freeing up hotel staff to focus on more important tasks, especially during a workforce crisis, the CEO said. Steve Cousins at FOX Business.
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The robot’s job is quite simple: deliver items from reception to rooms.
They are not replacing workers, but an additional “arsenal” that hotels, especially during the pandemic, can rely on for additional support, according to Cousins.
“It’s much more valuable for the front desk staff to check people in than to have stuff brought up to a room,” Cousins said. “If the hotel manager has to come and help you with deliveries, he doesn’t sell rooms, which is his main job.”
The robots, which are available 24/7, “essentially allow service personnel to spend more time with customers and increase employee job satisfaction,” he added.
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The company rolled out an earlier version of the robots, named Relay, in 2014, but it was unable to operate the elevators on its own. It was a roadblock Cousins said the company overcame with its latest version, the Relay Plus, which can handle pressing elevator buttons.
The new version was launched in December. Since then, the company has received orders from hotels across the country, from California to New York.
The general manager of the Dream Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, Vaughn Davis, said revenue from their room service has more than doubled in the past year and a half.
THE HOTEL INDUSTRY IN THE FIGHT AGAINST THE “LABOR CRISIS”
“By taking over low-value delivery tasks, our service staff can now focus on high-priced, high-reward deliveries like champagne and special orders,” Davis said. “This division of labor also helps us acquire and retain talent because team members don’t burn themselves out doing less interesting tasks.”
Cousins expects its fleet of robots across the country to double by next year.
“I just think, you know, we have a labor shortage that’s not going away. And we have a population that wants to do more meaningful work,” he said. “And so adding robots to their arsenal of what helps them do their jobs, I think is a good thing all around.”