Hotel Robot

Johannesburg Hotel Becomes First in Africa to Recruit Robot Helpers


A hotel in South Africa has come up with a novel idea to minimize contact between its staff and guests — by introducing robot workers to serve on its frontlines.

The Hotel Sky in Johannesburg is the first African hotel to do so. The robots assist those with mild COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

The hotel has “employed” three robots named Lexi, Micah and Ariel, who can carry as much as 300 kilograms of luggage from the hotel lobby to the guest rooms.

Guests can choose whether they’d like to interact with staff members or use self-service, which is controlled by their phones.

While some have praised the initiative, others aren’t sold on the idea. Just last week, the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that unemployment is at 30.8%.

“It’ll never replace people, but it is going to change the space,” Paul Kelley, Hotel Sky Managing Director, told Reuters.

Robot helpers are not a new concept to the hospitality industry. Many leading hotel brands, including the Hilton, Crowne Plaza and Yotel, have already introduced robot bellmen, robot butlers and the robot hotel concierge to some of their locations.

Hotels are also using robots for cleaning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“On one level, we have given everything a deep clean and increased the frequency of cleaning the public areas, but we further enhanced our routine by adding the two robots,” Archit Sanghvi, vice president of operations for Pearl Hospitality, which owns and operates this Westin franchise, told USA Today.

“It is an expensive investment,” Sanghvi added, “but we know we made the right decision because this is going to be the norm, sadly.”

You May Also Like