(NewsNation Now) – Meet Alfred, the robot concierge at the Dream Hollywood Hotel.
Alfred was introduced as a way for guests to limit interactions during the pandemic. But room service by robot could also be the answer to the problem of labor shortages facing the hotel industry.
Alfred performs various duties such as greeting guests and delivering toiletries, but he does not accept tips.
Alfred is a dream employee, according to Vaughn Davis, the hotel’s general manager, and he’s quite the attraction at the hotel.
“He never calls in sick, he never complains and he is always on time,” Davis added.
Robots are important employees as guests nowadays prefer less contact. There are even plans for Alfred to be joined by a bigger bot friend later this month.
“So you have the non-contact safety part of the guest journey and then the experience of it,” Davis said of his automated workers. “It’s a no-brainer for us, so that’s why we added another robot.”
Davis said Alfred complements his staff “an enormous amount,” which in turn “enables our team to deliver an exceptional guest experience.”
And guests are impressed.
“We called the front desk and they said, ‘Hey, we’re sending Alfred.’ My fiancé and I look at each other. Alfred? As soon as we opened our door, a robot greeted us with our food. It was great,” says hotel guest Edward Delarosa.
As CEO of Savioke Service Robots, Steve Cousins leads the company that runs the robots that are rented to more than a hundred companies across the country. For him, the bots are improving, not replacing jobs.
“Everyone understands that we need more automation to solve the labor shortage,” says Cousins. “It makes the employee more valuable to the organization, allows them to earn a higher wage because they don’t waste their time on tasks that are frankly beneath them.”
The Savioke company will double its deployment of hotel robots across the country this year. The latest model is advertised as bigger and better at handling elevators.
In addition to hotels, bots are also taking hold in all kinds of industries.
There are already a number of bots in action in the restaurant industry with staff shortages. The US Postal service just added bots for sorting. Companies like Kroger and Amazon rely on bots in fulfillment centers. And camera bots have been rolling around TV studios for years.
With more service robots now capable of handling elevators and navigating multiple floors, you can expect more machines to soon be working in hospitals, schools, construction sites and beyond.
But at hotels, there are still many jobs that remain protected from automation.
“We’re not even close to robots that can change the bedding,” Cousins said. “So the household… there will still be a lot of people involved.”
Watch Alfred in action in the video player at the top of the page.