Cost, Covid-19 drive Chinese hotels into arms of service robots
12/20/2022|4:08:41 PM|Yicai Global

More and more service robots are appearing in the lobbies of Chinese hotels, as the nation’s hospitality venues seek to cut costs and the spread of Covid-19.

“We've two robots for this 200-room hotel,” the manager of one in the Huazhu Hotels Group in downtown Shanghai told Yicai Global. “They complete over 70 tasks each a day, equivalent to 10 hours of work, for a total of more than 4,400 tasks last month alone.” Most of the group’s hotels use robots and contactless services, he added.

One robot can do the work of two staff, according to Ma Huan, director of BTG Homeinns Hotels Group’s intelligent hotel and innovation project. A drop in robot prices has also made hotel operators more open to using them.

The average price per robot fell to CNY20,000 (USD2,865) from CNY100,000 (USD14,325) a few years ago, Ma added, noting that with five-year maintenance charges of CNY10,000, two robots cost CNY60,000 every five years, versus CNY750,000 for three employees doing the same work.

Because of Covid-19 controls, contactless services are becoming mainstream for hotels, making delivery robots very popular, said Sun Jian, general manager of BTG Homeinns Hotels.

Another advantage of service robots is that hotel operators can collect accurate data, such as guests' preferences and habits, to further improve their services.

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