Developed by Santa Clara, Calif.-based robotics company Savioke and introduced in August 2014, Aloft’s robotic bellhop, Botlr, has had a noticeable affect on amenities sales—people are ordering more just to see this little guy do his job. Brian McGuinness, global brand leader of Starwood’s specialty select brands, explains to LODGING the positive impact Botlr has had on Aloft’s amenity sales and internal processes.
Which guests order amenities from Botlr? On weekends, families traveling with children see Botlr docked in the Botlr “selfie-spot” and are immediately curious. When they learn about our “Botlr Service” menu of snacks, they want to see a robot deliver these items as soon as they get up to their room, making an incremental spend they may not have typically made. It’s also worth noting that most of them place multiple orders throughout the stay just for the experience. During the week, business travelers not only appreciate the efficiency of robotic delivery, but it also captures the fascination of innovation. Many of these guests can be seen snapping a selfie with Botlr during deliveries to post on social media or tweet to their friends and families.
How do you think robotic bellhops will affect hotel processes in the future? It is no question that the appointment of Botlr will free up existing talent members’ time—particularly during very busy periods like check-in and check-out—by allowing them to create a more personalized experience for our guests while it handles small tasks and deliveries. Technologies are not designed to replace people, especially at a hospitality company. People are the very core of our business and our talent is the backbone of what we do. This new technology enables our hotel associates to make more time for what they do best, which is provide exceptional and personalized service for each and every one of our guests.
What have you learned from Botlr’s guest feedback platform? The overall reaction has been very positive—guests are always very excited when Botlr arrives with a delivery. It’s also very surreal, in a sense. Botlr is something you dreamed of as a kid come to life in front of your eyes, giving guests a sense of wonderment when they open the door to receive a delivery from a robotic butler.