'Weird Hotel' In Japan: The Robotic Future Of The Hospitality Industry?

Little by little, we're approaching a day and age where businesses that once relied on Japanese ReceptionistJapanese Receptionisthumans are using technology instead. I say "approaching" because we're not quite there yet; people are still valued in many fields, particularly where customer service is concerned. But that doesn't mean that many businesses aren't already embracing alternatives, and some of them happen to be a little strange.

A Japanese hotel called Henn Na (which translates to "Weird Hotel") has decided to staff its hospitality business with robots, rather than living beings. The latter are present to supervise the robots and ensure that all operations are running smoothly, and to do the jobs that robots aren't qualified for. But, the majority of the front of house staff happen to be of the non-living variety.

Robot ConciergeRobot Concierge

The "staff" at the Weird Hotel don't feature a "traditional" look either, and that's not a discrimination thing. It's just that they're more than just inhuman; the main receptionist happens to be a dinosaur. And why not? When you're running a hotel staffed by robots, there just aren't any rules about such things.

On Wednesday, the very first hotel guests were welcomed and were invited members of the media. On Friday, it officially cut its metaphoric grand opening ribbon to accept paying customers. These patrons would have been greeted by the rather aggressive looking dinosaur who is fluent in English, giving them directions for check-in. There's also a Japanese Bot that resembles a human woman that takes guests through the very same process. It is essentially a self check-in system where you can enter the required information using an interface on a screen. A third robot that looks more like you'd expect of such a technological marvel acts as a concierge.

From there, guests load their luggage onto an automated trolley that will deliver itself to the room issued. Naturally, the Weird Hotel uses something a little more progressive than conventional room cards as well; instead, they simply use facial recognition software and associate the image of each guest with their room.

Dinosaur Robot ReceptionistDinosaur Robot Receptionist

Like at many hotels, lockers or safes are available that allow guests to keep valuables in the reception area. But as you'd probably guess, the ones at this hotel are anything but standard. The Weird Hotel has an area in the lobby that is secured behind class. It contains a variety of lockers and a robotic arm that delivers a box to guests so they can put items of their choosing in it. That robotic arm then moves the box back into a secured slot.

All of these technologically advanced features at the Weird Hotel aren't just gimmicks, according to the owner. While he also operates a theme park, efficiency and operating his business cost-effectively are his true goals. These savings are clearly being passed onto his guests as well since the rate per night is only the equivalent of $80 USD, which is a bargain in the region.

Regardless of how you'd feel about staying at a place manned by robots, this just might be a glimpse into the future of business.

Via: The Guardian