Remember that robot hotel that opened up in Nagasaki, Japan a few years ago? Well it turns out that while the use of robots as staff generated quite a bit of buzz and business, it was a far less practical solution than hiring employees with a pulse.
So much so that the Henn-na Hotel has decided to “fire” almost half of the robots that it uses at its establishment.
According to the Wall Street Journal (paywall) that’s roughly 121 robots that will no longer be required.
The reason for their firing is the fact that they often generated more problems for the human staff at the hotel than they were designed to eliminate. The tulip-looking Chu-ri robots (featured in the video below) that served as smart speakers in hotel rooms for example, could not always answer questions when asked, and would at times activate during the night due to guests snoring.
The velociraptor robot at reception too, could not do certain tasks, such as making copies of guests IDs or passports, and therefore necessitated a human being there most of the time.
That said, the hotel did have a few robots that did their jobs expertly, with the giant robot arm that moves luggage into storage boxes for guests now used by other Japanese hotel chains.
There’s also the issue of technology obsolescence, which in the case of robots can happen quite rapidly, prompting an above average annual spend in order to ensure all robots at the hotel are up to date.
While robots are seen as the future for many industries, it seems like the hospitality one is still designed for the human touch.
As for the fate of the Henn-na Hotel, it is still operational, although may not have as much of the gimmicky robot element that guests will be looking for moving forward.
[Image – Japan Times via YouTube]