Starwood, one of the world’s largest hotel companies, is rolling out two robotic
“Botlrs” inexplicably named A.L.O. in their Cupertino Aloft Hotel.
The robotic butlers, built by Savioke, are able to perform tasks in the front of the
house and the back of the house, as well as navigate around guests and use
elevators. For the most part, it seems that the Botlrs will be delivering amenities
to guest rooms in lieu of actual humans, “freeing up existing talent’s time and
allowing them to create a more personalized experience for guests.”
When a guest calls down and asks for a toothbrush or extra towels, hotel
employees simply load up the robot with the requested items, dial in the room
number, and the Botlr handles the rest.
Using a combination of sensors and Wi-Fi/4G connectivity to communicate with
the hotel and the elevator software, the ROS-powered robot can get to and from
the rooms without breaking anything or injuring anyone.
When the robot arrives at the room, the guest can enter in a rating on the robot’s
touchscreen, or offer a “tip” in the form of a tweet to the hashtag #MeetBotlr.
“This is currently a pilot at Aloft Cupertino and is under consideration, though not
yet confirmed, to be implemented at Aloft Sunnyvale when it opens at the end ofthis year,” said Brian McGuinness of Aloft Hotels. “Based on the success of the
pilot, we will look to roll out at our nearly 100 hotels around the world in 2015
Hotels are making bigger strides to appeal to their increasingly tech-forward
guests, especially given the added competitive pressure of services like Airbnb.
Hilton recently introduced a way to choose your room and check out from your
phone, with smartphone-powered keyless entry coming in the next year.