Hotels Redefine What It Means To Be A Concierge With TUG Robots
By Jackie Cohen
Ahead of their time, the brand new Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel is paving way for a new generation of hotel experiences, and memorable ones at that.
When it opened in January 2018, the Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel Hotel not only its sleek and modern design was new, they also brought in robots that help out as staff members. Some robots show guests to the elevators and to their rooms, and others bring room service to hotel rooms.
The new Sheraton is the first hotel in the United States to enlist the help of eight TUG robots.
The robots are designed and developed by Aethon, an industry leader in autonomous mobile robotic development. Aethon is known for their contributions to the healthcare industry, automating transportation, and delivery throughout hospitals.
Combined with their mobile design, Aethon’s TUG has an intricate software system. It has the ability to infiltrate itself into existing internal technology within the building.
In this case, Sheraton’s adoption of the TUG robots will greet guests, give directions, and assist in the check-in process. The friendly, four-foot-high robots will welcome guests to the brand new 288-room hotel, just ten miles from downtown Los Angeles.
“Having eight robots is a first for the US hotel industry, and we know our TUG robots will be an approachable, cutting-edge addition to the world-class service guests expect at Sheraton properties robots are the next wave of hospitality technology,” said Wanda Chan, general manager of the Sheraton LA San Gabriel.
“We believe our overnight guests and those in the local San Gabriel community will find the robots to be intriguing and fun.”
“The robots will work alongside employees but won’t replace them,” Wanda Chan, the hotel’s general manager, said. “Rather, their purpose is to make certain tasks more efficient, allowing staff to focus on the needs of guests and offering more personal touches.”
American designed and manufactured in Pittsburgh, these smart assistance have maps of the hotel coded into their robot brains, making navigation simple and easy.
This technology will assist the hotel to make their delivery and distribution systems as fast as possible, making the guest experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
With built-in WiFi systems as well as motion sensors, TUG is aware of its surroundings and able to safely make its way through crowds and synch up with elevator systems.
Throughout the hotel, the fleet of eight TUG robots are tasked with different assignments.
While some will be assigned by guest check-in, helping guests make their way to elevators and their guest rooms, others will help with luggage transport, meal delivery, fresh linens, and other door-services.
Whether the robot is on the “way-finding” team or “multi-use”, they are helping this hotel soar above the competition with nuance abilities and comfort levels for their guests.
Working in harmony with human employees, the robots will not be replacing their positions, but rather assisting them, optimizing time, space, and skills in order to reach a new benchmark in luxury hotel experiences.
In the heart of San Gabriel
This new hotel has even more to offer than its state of the art technology and new robotic assistants.
Located in the heart of San Gabriel and conveniently positioned within close proximity to the greater LA area, the Sheraton, operated by the Pyramid Hotel Group, is a short distance away from many sights. These include Dodger Stadium, Santa Anita Race Track, the Staples Center, and Disneyland, also surrounded by luxury shopping opportunities for guests.
Chinese and Western Influences
With both Chinese and Western influence, the Sheraton LA San Gabriel’s brand new luxury property includes over a dozen suites, two restaurants, meeting spaces and multipurpose rooms, luxury spa services, brand new fitness center, and spacious ballrooms for special events.
The idea of being greeted by a robot as soon as you enter a hotel may seem foreign to some, but soon, this will be the norm in the hospitality industry. Robots are no longer just in the movies, infiltrating many jobs– it’s the hotel industry’s turn to get a taste of the action.
So, next time you check into a hotel, imagine being greeted and escorted to your room by a TUG robot. Does this idea excite you or shock you, because it just may be the new normal.
Robots come to Boston
LA’s new robot hotel may seem nuanced now, but other places around the country are also adding robots to their staff fleet. YOTEL, an affordable luxury brand hotel recently announced a new addition to their team, YO2D2, a well-trained bot hired to service the hotel’s guests.
The hotel, located in the Boston Seaport, recently opened in June of 2017, is no stranger to new tech. They provide guests incredibly fast and free WiFi throughout the property, automated check-in via their mobile app, and ‘SmartBeds’ in their small guest ‘cabins’ complete with adjustable settings and Technowalls.
“At YOTEL, we don’t just do technology for technology’s sake, it needs to be functional, first and foremost,” said Boston YOTEL General Manager Chris Hartzell.
“Since YO2D2 was introduced, our guests have been fascinated and entertained by the robot, but more importantly, it’s expediting the delivery of linens, extra towels, and retail items to their cabins and freeing up our crew to assist guests with anything else they might need.”
Yotel’s robot was constructed by a California-based developer, Savioke. The 3-foot tall robot is intelligently programmed in accordance with the architecture of Yotel, with navigation features, elevator-summoning technology, and it’s own personality, greeting guests with unique messages and even dance moves.
“YOTEL is a tech-forward, innovative hotel brand, so it’s no surprise their Boston property is the first in the city to deploy a robot,” said Steve Cousins, founder, and CEO of Savioke, in a recent press release. “We look forward to seeing YO2D2 traveling the halls, delivering items, and mingling with guests at YOTEL Boston.”
YOTEL Boston is the first to take in a robot, but the chain plans on adding them to each of their properties.