There will assuredly be a day when we travelers treat the news of yet another service robot in the travel industry with nonchalance.
This is not that day.
The Westin Buffalo announced its newest staff member Thursday: A robot butler that, sadly, is yet to procure a name. That’s a real shame considering how amazing this thing is and how long it has been employed.
The Relay robot is thanks to a rollout from hospitality and food service company Delaware North. The company brought the Relay model, produced by Savioke, to the new Westin Buffalo back in December. Since that time, it has been part of the hospitality team, but it made its official debut this week.
The Relay robot’s presence has largely been kept under wraps until now, but this robot—the first to serve as butler in the state of New York—is ready to meet your needs.
So far, that has meant procuring things like sneakers—in conjunction with the Westin’s New Balance Gear Lending program—and super healthy food, then delivering them to rooms.
Tom Long, general manager of The Westin Buffalo for Delaware North, explains: “Our guests have really gotten a kick out of the Relay robot and how it’s programmed to ride the elevator to their room and call them to receive the items from its storage compartment. It’s been successful thanks to Savioke working with Delaware North’s information technology department and our front desk staff.”
Bernard Gay, Delaware North’s chief information officer, also explained the impetus behind bringing robotics into the mix: “Delaware North places a high priority on innovation and technology, so we’re proud to be on the forefront of this cutting-edge service model. We’ve integrated the robot technology to work hand-in-hand with the associates at the hotel to create a seamless experience for our guests.”
Shoring up the most important matter, officials will finally name the robot via social media campaign. Head to either its Facebook or Twitter channels and vote on what are described as four locally-inspired names.
Robots have slowly crept into the travel industry over the last several years. We had previously reported on a Savioke robot that had made a grand entrance into a Cupertino Aloft Hotel location. There is also Spencer the Robot at Amsterdam Airport and the table-clearing bots they have at Chiba’s Narita Airport.
Yes, the world is slowly learning how to incorporate a tech curio as a legitimate part of the hospitality cog. That just means we should get used to the idea like the sophisticated humanoids we are.