Friday, October 13, 2017

What is Hospitality Without “People Serving People?”  

Robots at the front desk of the HENN-NA Hotel in Japan
Hotels are slowly replacing people with electronic devices, with machines becoming much more efficient now than ever, performing faster and better than humans at almost everything. Take Hilton for example. They have an electronic check-in option you can do over your phone, and “Connie,” an electronic concierge to assist Hilton guests worldwide. On the extreme side, we are already seeing robots take the place of an entire hotel, see the HENN-NA Hotel in Japan, where there are 140 robot workers and only 7 human employees. While you ask yourself “Will this trend stay? Will hotels be completely run by robots in 20 years?”, hotels are being run over by home sharing companies with human interactions, like Airbnb’s, instead.

Airbnb host greeting guest
In New York City, it’s been reported that hotels lose approximately $450 million of direct revenue per year from home sharing companies such as Airbnb. Many hotel chains, Hyatt and Wyndham for example, have already begun to invest in home sharing and are looking to work in association with them. With Airbnb, guests communicate with their host before, after and during booking, and their host is used as a resource for things such as restaurants and local attractions. People are utilizing home sharing companies at a steep upward pace, where they are feeling real live connections rather than using electronic devices.

Is it just a coincidence that as hotels input more efficient electronic devices, people are choosing human connection instead? What are your thoughts?