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July saw the opening of the world’s first robot run hotel, The Henn-na Hotel in Japan, which interestingly enough translates to ‘Weird Hotel’. Guests check in with either an English talking dinosaur or a Japanese speaking humanoid and pass their luggage over to porter robots.
Keys are defunct as facial recognition solely allows each guest access to their rooms, saving time and frustrations of malfunctioning key cards, and once inside your room a miniature robot named Tuly will turn your lights on and off, there are of course no switches. Whilst humans are still employed to ensure security of the venue and to change the beds, what do the British public make of this advancement in customer care?
KAYAK, the world’s leading travel search engine, conducted a survey through OnePoll on 1000 Brits in October this year and found the following:
British adults are becoming ever more open the idea of robots replacing humans in certain sectors. One in five British adults (20%) say they would actually prefer to stay at a hotel run by robots compared to a traditional hotel, rising to over a quarter for men (26%).
Whilst the novelty factor undoubtedly plays a part in the desire to stay in a robot-run hotel, a fifth of British adults (19%) believe robots are more trustworthy than humans, saying that they’d prefer to leave their luggage with them as a result.
Kayak’s research found that one in seven (14%) believe robots could wipe out poor customer service, while 18% highlighted the fact that they would expect robot staff to reduce hotel rates.
Whilst the majority of UK adults (75%) see the benefits of robotics in general, just 16% would like robots to look like humans. This is due to 42% believing that there is a real possibility robots could take over the world in the future.
Loella Pehrsson, Regional Director UK, Ireland and the Nordics at KAYAK, said: “KAYAK is a technology-led travel company and as such, we’re fascinated with the role which robots and robotics could play in the travel industry in the future. While the majority of British adults prefer the human touch when it comes to travel, there is clearly a significant proportion who are open-minded to the benefits robotics could offer.”
It’s just the beginning…