April 09, 2024

How Robotics and AI are Helping Hospitality Elevate Customer Experience

Cobi 18 robotic floor scrubber in hotel

From the moment you walk into a hotel, you begin to examine the surroundings, most of the time assessing whether or not the environment meets your expectations and standards. 

So how does an industry struggling with labor challenges continue to find ways to meet customer expectations and deliver exceptional experiences? By adopting technology solutions to help support staff and improve the customer experience. 

According to Marv Allen a Sales Director at Starfleet, writing for Hotel Technology News, the global market for hotel robots is expected to reach $338 million (USD) by 2025, signaling the growing popularity of robots in the hospitality industry. 

“This growth is being driven by the increasing adoption of robots in the hospitality industry and the growing need for efficient and cost-effective solutions. Hotels are increasingly turning to robots to improve operations and enhance the guest experience. And the future of hotel robotics is very bright,” says Allen. 

The adoption of robotics in the hospitality industry plays an important role as it helps streamline operations by aiding staff with daily work in a timely and accurate manner. All this is to elevate the guest experience and provide a service that keeps guests returning. 

Below are the many ways robotics in the hospitality industry are making an impact on the guest experience. 

Robotics & AI Help Improve the Check-In Experience

From self-check-in kiosks to robots behind the counter ready to greet guests, robotics and AI are becoming more useful to the hospitality industry.  

“Part of the reason why robots have emerged as a popular technology trend within the hospitality industry is because ideas of automation and self-service are playing an increasingly vital role in the customer experience. The use of robots can lead to improvements in terms of speed, cost-effectiveness, and even accuracy,” says Martijn Bartenwriting for Revfine.

For example, chatbots can be used by a company to answer questions 24/7, providing accurate and quick response times when hotel staff are unavailable. 

Due to the growing popularity of self-service options, self-check-in kiosks, and robots are being implemented to aid in speeding up the check-in process to help reduce congestion as well as deliver accurate and speedy support to guests. 

Robots that are equipped with natural language processing capabilities can efficiently handle check-ins, provide information about hotel amenities, and even offer recommendations for local attractions and dining options.

Barten points out that robotics and AI can even help with predictive analytics by analyzing guest “preferences and behaviors for personalized services,” which can help improve “management and demand forecasting.” This can help a hotelier better prepare for slow or busy periods in the business. 

By automating routine tasks, such as check-in procedures, robots free up human staff to focus on delivering personalized service and attending to more complex guest needs. This helps ensure guests are receiving the best possible experience

during their stay. 

Check in robot at hotel assiting guest

Robots Help with Hotel Cleaning

Robots are increasingly being deployed in housekeeping departments to enhance efficiency and cleanliness standards. Autonomous robots equipped with sensors and cameras can navigate through hotel corridors and guest rooms, autonomously cleaning. 

For example, Cobi 18, an autonomous floor scrubber, by ICE Cobotics, can be deployed to clean hard flooring surfaces throughout a hotel. The sophisticated navigation system guides the robot around moving and stationary obstacles ensuring the safety of guests and staff. 

Staff members can easily deploy the unit on a trained cleaning route by simply tapping a few buttons on the touchscreen user interface. Once the unit is deployed, staff can focus on other high-value tasks that require human skills and deliver a more impactful guest stay. 

Floor cleaning can be a time-consuming and strenuous task. By offloading the task to AI-empowered robots, staff save time and can engage in more complex activities such as dusting, and cleaning high-touch areas, windows, and drapes, things that sometimes are left untouched for long periods.

These robots not only improve the speed and thoroughness of cleaning operations but also ensure a consistent level of cleanliness throughout the property. This not only contributes to guest satisfaction but also enhances operational efficiency by reducing the workload on human housekeeping staff.

Cobi 18 robotic floor scrubber cleaning hotel

Robots Help Hotels with Food and Ammenity Delivery

Beyond front-of-house and housekeeping operations, robots are also being utilized in food and beverage services to streamline processes and enhance guest experiences. 

These robots are equipped with tray-like platforms or compartments to carry dishes and beverages, and they navigate through the hotel using sensors and predefined pathways. 

Aloft Hotels were the first in the United States to introduce delivery robots in 2014 in Silicon Valley. The hotelier introduced the Relay Robot by Relay Robotics (previously Savioke) to deliver food and other items to guests in their rooms. The robot is named Botlr. 

According to a New York Times article, “Botlr’s most popular guest deliveries are forgotten toiletry items, bottled water, microwave popcorn and coloring books for kids…”

By automating the delivery process, these robotic servers reduce wait times, minimize errors, and create a unique and memorable experience for guests.

Hotel delivery robots helping guests

Robots Help Hotels Deliver Hyper-Personalized Experiences

In 2015, the first hotel run completely by robots opened in Nagasaki Japan at a theme park called Huis Ten Bosch. The name of the hotel is Henn-na and there are now multiple locations across the globe. 

The goal of these hotels is to provide guests with an experience like no other. In some locations guests are met by an animatronic dinosaur, in others there is a humanoid robot behind the desk waiting to check guests in. 

While Henn-na hotels faced challenges along the way, the company reportedly had to lay off robots and bring on humans to tackle the more complex parts of running a hotel, the hotelier is still going strong and committed to delivering exceptional and personalized experiences using robots. 

Many hotels across the globe have adopted robots to deliver hyper-personalized experiences. By employing robots, hotels can accommodate guests’ specific needs more efficiently and quickly without disrupting other guests or pulling staff away from important tasks. 

In 2018, the Sheraton in Los Angeles San Gabriel Hotel adopted eight tug robots by Aethon to greet guests, escort them to specific rooms in the hotel, and deliver luggage to their rooms.

The robots help staff focus on the guest experience by delivering unique and personalized moments consistently and efficiently. 

Robots & AI Help Augment Labor Challenges

Labor challenges are nothing new for the hotel industry and contribute to a poor guest experience. 

“Staffing hotels has always been a challenge and the number one expense for most properties. Since the pandemic, the demands on staff (and for staff) have grown even greater and, with rising wages and fewer applicants, hotels have started to look for new and innovative ways to meet that challenge,” says Dominic Locascio, Senior Director of Hospitality at Piaggio Fast Forward. 

Adding robots to the hospitality team frees up staff to focus on the guest experience and offsets issues that occur when there is not enough staff on site. With robots that can deliver food, escort guests, and deliver luggage to rooms, staff are less likely to be interrupted or pulled away from important interactions. 

While hospitality robots can be expensive, the average costs range from $20K to $40K (USD), these costs more than offset the long-term costs of frustrated guests who may not return due to poor service or not enough staff on-site to help. 

After all, providing exceptional service is the name of the game in the hospitality industry and you have to have the people and robots on staff to do it. 


Despite the potential challenges, the adoption of robotics in the hospitality industry represents a significant opportunity for hotels to differentiate themselves in a competitive market and deliver exceptional customer experiences. 

By leveraging the capabilities of robots to automate routine tasks, enhance operational efficiency, and create memorable interactions, hotels can elevate their service offerings and exceed guest expectations. 

Whether it's a robotic concierge welcoming guests with a friendly smile or a robotic delivery robot, the integration of robotics is transforming the hospitality landscape, paving the way for a future where technology and hospitality seamlessly intersect to create unforgettable moments for guests around the world.

ICE Cobotics is a leading floor cleaning technology and equipment company specializing in autonomous solutions available through an all-inclusive subscription. If you’re in the market for robotic floor scrubbers, we can help. Reach out to our automation specialists to answer your questions.  

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