There’s no doubt that it’s really hard to find good staff nowadays. So Japan’s H.I.S hospitality group, who own Henn-na in the heart of Tokyo’s upmarket shopping district, have taken a revolutionary step and installed very lifelike androids to look after the check-in process.
And although at first, no one seemed to be complaining about the presence of the machines, it seems that their good days are over.
The advantages of hiring robots
The hotel manager used to laugh by saying that the android work hard, don’t require a break and are never in a bad mood, plus the guests seemed to always be happy at the sight of the robot employees. So the management decided to let aprpoximately 243 robots run the hotel.
The robots, some of which were dinosaurs, were responsible for every aspect of the hotel including check-in, luggage collection, concierge, and in-room assistance.
Robots taking over people’s jobs apparently used to be a great switch in the services business considering that managers look for high productivity and the robots are good for that.
Plus, every business is searching for ways to integrate the latest technologies into their business so using robots at the front desk, for example, seemed like a natural move.
Android employees have limitations too
Of course, there are limitations to android abilities. Even if they speak several languages, they’re not able to point you in the right direction, just like a human would.
So, right now, it seems robot domination in the workforce won’t be happening anytime soon.
The hotel, who promoted itself for having a predominantly droid staff – recently fired half of its robot workers.
Unfortunately, malfunctions forced the hotel to rethink its staffing approach. Hotel guests were becoming more reliant on human staff to help with basic tasks such as photocopying passports.
On the funnier yet disturbing note, one hotel guest had trouble with the in-room assistance when it mistook his snoring for a request. The robot woke him up by asking, “Sorry, I couldn’t catch that. Could you repeat your request?”, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.
Other guests complained the concierge wasn’t all that helpful with their iPhone assistant Siri finding information in just seconds.
The reception, concierge and bell hop duties will now all be completed by human employees, putting an end to the hotel’s robotic dream, only three years after powering up.
So, humanity doesn’t have to worry about robots taking over the hotel business just yet.