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Service Robots: A Helping Hand for the Hotel Labor Shortage

With the implementation of service robots, the pain points caused by the hotel labor shortage are mitigated by robotics taking on cleaning and hotel food services, allowing employees to focus more of their time catering to the needs of guests.
Artists concept of a cleaning robot
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As virus concerns waned, millions of people began to find solace in traveling once again. A surge of voyagers are making their way back to hotels, ready to have the exceptional lodging experience that they’ve been missing for years.

While hotel owners and managers are welcoming back a sea of guests with open arms, they’re struggling to find the labor to keep up with the reinvigorated demand in the hospitality industry.

More customers expect 24/7 service so operators’ use of hospitality tech, such as chat help-bots and check in’s via mobile apps, is skyrocketing. Despite these new advances aiding in the balance between consumer expectations and labor shortages, phone applications can only do so much.

Enter the service robot. With the implementation of service robots, the pain points caused by the hotel labor shortage are mitigated by robotics taking on cleaning and hotel food services, allowing employees to focus more of their time catering to the needs of guests.

Guests desire cleanliness

Cleanliness is one of the most important factors for guests when determining their next stay, so it’s imperative that hotel owners employ the necessary technology and workers to exceed this expectation. On average, hotel management needs to hire a minimum of 20 workers solely for cleaning services – a number not always achievable in this tight labor market.

Autonomous robots can assist in the cleaning of understaffed hotels by mopping and vacuuming floors of guest rooms and common spaces. They can be programmed to operate within a time frame that does not interfere with popular hours of guest traffic, leaving rooms always sparkling in the eyes of guests. Hotel bathrooms, too, can be cleaned by specialized disinfection robots using tools such as mist disinfectant sprayers to sanitize tile floors, showers, and sinks.

While it may take an hour for a housekeeper to clean a hotel room on their own, service robots can quickly clean at a base level, allowing human workers to focus on more complex cleaning details and more efficiently finish the job.

Food services improve the guest experience

There’s nothing like sitting by a hotel pool and being served a delicious beverage or finding comfort in room service after a long day. Hotels wish to maintain these food service features to enhance the guest experience, but their employees face the challenging reality of having to quickly run back and forth to ensure all guest are being taken care of.

Luckily, delivery robots can greatly reduce the number of steps employees have to walk, giving them more time and energy to ensure that poolside cocktail is always filled and the guest is always smiling. Autonomous robots can deliver food to guests’ poolside cabanas and their rooms on different floors, since the most advanced bots can operate building elevators autonomously. When a robot arrives at a room, it can even be programmed to call the on-suite phone to let guests know their meal has arrived.

For dining areas located far from a central kitchen, service robots can provide a reliable delivery tool so waiters don’t have to trek across the property. In that same vein, service robots can also take dirty dishes from rooms, hallways, or tables and bring them to be to be washed – a win-win for hotel managers looking to both clear dishes in a timely manner and uphold the high level of cleanliness their customers expect. Hotel guests do not want to see a plate of dirty dishes piling up outside their door, and service robots can whisk them away before other guests ever lay eyes on them.

Fulfilling Customer Needs

At understaffed hotels, an employee may need to wear many hats, working as a receptionist one minute and coordinating back-end managerial details the next. When staffing is short, it is nearly impossible for these employees to satisfy customers’ 24/7 expectations while still meeting their other duties.

The deployment of service robots allows employees to spend more time creating personalized experiences for each guest through one-on-one interaction. Imagine, a service robot greeting guests with a glass of champagne, escorting them to the front desk for a seamless check-in process with full attention given by the employee, and then helping carry their bags to their room. It’s the little details that make a guest’s experience memorable, and service robots allow short-staffed employees to focus on providing them more easily.

As hospitality tech continues to grow, there’s one thing that it can never replace – the in-person interaction between employees and guests. Consumer expectations will continue to increase as they return to hospitality venues, and hotel managers that leverage advanced tech tools like service robots will keep up with not only their guests’ needs, but those of their employees as well.



Robin Zheng is the US Manager of Pudu Robotics, a world-leading tech-focused enterprise dedicated to the design, R&D, production and sales of commercial service robots, which aims to use robots to improve the efficiency of human production and living. To learn more visit: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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