Categories: News

Japanese Hotel ‘Sacks’ Half It’s Robot Workforce

Japanese Robot Hotel

There is always something rather pleasant about finding a hotel with a few quirks. For example, a recent trend has seen former city jailed converted into ‘prison’ themed hotels. The Henn na Hotel in Japan, however, offered something more than a little different. It was, essentially, the first hotel to have a fully robotic staff. Well, at least that the guests ever got to see!

Despite the attractiveness of this as a promotional tool, however, it seems that things haven’t exactly worked out. In a report via CNET, the hotel has effectively ‘sacked’ half of its workforce as they were reportedly pretty terrible at their job.

What Went Wrong?

Well, it seems that despite the technology being clearly impressive, there were more than a few limitations. These included;

  • Automated bellhops could only carry luggage on flat surfaces and even then, only to certain rooms.
  • Robots were found to get stuck while trying to negotiate around each other.
  • Check-in robots struggled to answer basic questions.
  • Their noise levels raised complaints.
  • A virtual assistant reportedly kept waking a guest who was snoring with  “Sorry, I couldn’t catch that. Could you repeat your request?”
  • Robot maintenance and repair reportedly led to a growing human specialist staff being required.

In other words, as great as the concept was, it had more than a few problems in reality.

What Do We Think?

The idea in itself was always going to be based on promotion rather than practicality. As such, the real crux of the matter is whether the hotel made enough money to cover the expense of the robots (and their maintenance). It was, we’ll admit, a fantastic idea and it would be great to visit the hotel, but I think guests need to understand something important. This is an experience. An experience you may not necessarily find plain sailing nor, indeed, one that provides a good level of service.

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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