Robot butlers, UV pods: Hotels go high-tech

The hotel of the future could be immaculate

Hoteliers are deploying tons of new tech, such as Yotel's Robot Butler to meet government regulations and ease guests’ fears. (Yotel Pad Miami)
Hoteliers are deploying tons of new tech, such as Yotel's Robot Butler to meet government regulations and ease guests’ fears. (Yotel Pad Miami)

Hotels across the world are turning to high-tech gadgets to meet customer expectations of cleanliness and stringent regulations triggered by the coronavirus.

The responses range from relatively mundane cleaning gadgets to sterilizers and robot butlers straight out of science fiction, according to Bloomberg.

The new tech could help prospective guests feel more at ease booking a room — and hotels need all the help they can get. Even with lots of establishments closed, U.S hotel occupancy only rose above 40 percent last week for the first time since March. Revenues continue to creep upward as well, but are still a fraction of what they were pre-pandemic.

Yotel is deploying its army of R2D2-style robot butlers, which it has used since 2018, to deliver luggage to guest rooms and for housekeeping tasks.

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The Roundtree hotel in East Hampton hamlet Amagansett purchased UV sterilizer machines the size of mini bar fridges from Upang. Guests can request use of the sterilizers to bathe objects such as car keys, phones, and beverages in UV light for 10 minutes, although scientists say the coronavirus is spreading primarily through respiration.

Some hotels are equipping cleaning crews with portable decontamination foggers like the Curis fogger system and hospital-grade electrostatic sprayers for use in rooms and common spaces.

Peninsula Hotels previously had in-room systems that allow guests to order room service and change the temperature and lighting in their rooms. Now those services are being moved to a mobile app called PenChat. [Bloomberg] — Dennis Lynch