Here’s something you won’t find at the Courtyard by Marriott: robotic butlers.
Aloft Hotels, a brand of mega-hotelier Starwood, positions itself as “the tech-forward, innovation hub for millennial-minded travelers.” (They also have, like, beds and showers and stuff.) And now, coming August 20 at the chain’s Cupertino, Calif., hotel deep in the heart of Silicon Valley, they’ll have a robotic butler.
Aloft cheekily calls it a Botlr. Its name is A.L.O., and it’s got its own hashtag, #MeetBotlr. A.L.O. will have both “front and back of house duties,” which I am sure will endear it to the members of the staff who it’s there to “assist” and who make their livings off tips.
From Aloft’s press release:
A.L.O. the Botlr will be on call as a robotic operative where it will be assisting the Aloft talent in delivering amenities to guest rooms. Professionally ‘dressed’ in a custom shrink-wrapped, vinyl collared uniform and nametag, A.L.O. will modestly accept tweets as tips as its wheels whizz from task to task. This newest Aloft associate will not only free up existing talent’s time, allowing them to create a more personalized experience for guests, but will enhance the hotel’s current tech-forward offerings.
“As soon as A.L.O. entered the room, we knew it was what we were looking for. A.L.O. has the work ethic of Wall-E, the humor of Rosie from The Jetsons and reminds me of my favorite childhood robot, R2-D2. We are excited to have it join our team.”
Aw! Imagine opening the door to your room and being served a bottle of wine or extra towels by a cute robot. It’s even wearing a little bow tie!
On the other hand, imagine the weird sights this robot will not be able to unsee as it serves people in what is often their most depraved habitat, the hotel room. Poor little guy.
A.L.O. was developed by a company called Savioke, Aloft Cupertino’s Silicon Valley neighbor, which is working on creating autonomous robots for the service industry. Aloft says “several” new Botlrs will join A.L.O. in the coming months.
While the hotel says its Botlrs will simply “free up existing talent’s time,” it will be interesting to see how many human employees A.L.O. and his buddies might eventually displace.