TechnologyRobot Delivers Valentine’s Day Surprises—and Guest Engagement

Robot Delivers Valentine’s Day Surprises—and Guest Engagement

This Valentine’s Day, guests at Aloft Silicon Valley can express their love in a new, high-tech way. The hotel’s in-house robotic butler, Botlr, is available to deliver Valentine’s Day surprises to guestrooms—from chocolates to engagement rings.

First introduced to the Aloft in 2014, Botlr allows front desk associates to respond more quickly to guests’ needs. The robot butler assists hotel staff by picking up and delivering guest amenities and moving linens and towels. The robot is designed to be both user friendly and approachable, wirelessly communicating with guests and staff through a touch screen interface.

Botlr Toni Stoeckl, global brand leader and vice president of distinctive select brands at Marriott International, says that the idea for the Valentine’s Day promotion came from seeing how much guests enjoyed more basic Botlr deliveries on a day-to-day basis—like forgotten amenities, extra towels, and snacks from the hotel’s Re:fuel shop. “We thought it would be fun to step it up a notch and offer something a little special for Valentine’s Day,” Stoeckl says. 

Robots like Botlr also serve a purpose beyond functionality—because they are visually engaging and a novelty, guests frequently share photos and experiences with the robot on social media.

“We also think people like Botlr so much because it enhances the guest experience provided by Aloft associates,” Stoeckl explains. Hotel staff spend less time on routine tasks like retrieving and delivering extra towels, bottled water, and forgotten emenities, freeing them up to spend more time on more meaningful interactions with guests. “AI helps our associates on property to create deeper, authentic face-to-face relationships with our guests,” Stoeckl adds.

Aloft Hotels has a history of bringing new technology into the everyday guest experience. “It has come to be something our guests expect from us,” Stoeckl explains. In addition to Botlr, the brand has introduced ChatBotlr, which is in pilot mode at Aloft Boston Seaport. The chatbot is available to guests via text message,  giving guests an additional way to make service requests, including information about the hotel, a request to listen to the brand’s proprietary playlist #AloftLive, and a way to connect with the front desk team on or off property.

“By leveraging natural language understanding and machine learning, ChatBotlr gets smarter the more it interacts with guests,” Stoeckl says. “Early findings from our ChatBotlr pilot at Aloft Boston Seaport show that two out of three Aloft guests are interacting or making requests with ChatBotlr and the service has a five-second response time.”

Aloft’s Botlr currently roams at several properties: Aloft Miami Doral, Aloft Dallas Love Field, Aloft Boston Seaport, Aloft Long Island City, Aloft Cupertino, and Aloft Silicon Valley. “We have always seen technology as additive to the guest experience,” Stoeckl explains. “One of the biggest benefits of Botlr has been the way it has empowered our human associates to deliver an ever-higher level of guest service that goes beyond personalization into anticipating the needs of our guests.”

Christine Killion
Christine Killion is the editor of LODGING.

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