Home » Special Features » Special TTC.Tourism: robots are the future but with caution

Special TTC.Tourism: robots are the future but with caution

Special TTC.Tourism: robots are the future but with caution

Photo: viteethumb/123RF

By Frank Martin

In 2025, the global robotics market will exceed 275 billion dollars and one of the world’s winning industries will be tourism.

The forecast is not science fiction. Last year the robotic market had a value of $ 98 billion.

A branch that increasingly uses the so-called “artificial intelligence” are cruises.

Three years ago, Royal Caribbean launched a new part of its Quantum fleet in 2014.

The $ 1 billion Ovation of the Seas comes with a bionic bar, where customers can customize their orders on a tablet screen and collect their cocktail at the bar in just thirty seconds.

The two robotic arms move, shake and pour cocktails, up to 1,000 drinks per day.

Guests can also access the Internet in the middle of the ocean via high-speed WiFi, while the cruise also comes with a skydiving simulator.

“Technology is changing the way people travel and we are responding to that,” Sean Tracey, managing director of Royal Caribbean in Singapore and Southeast Asia, said in a statement.

The experts said that during the next five years there will be a rapid growth in cloud-based robot services for the installed robot armies and for the contracted robots as needed, especially by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which will generate new drivers of demand.

According to Globe Newswire, the most important travel and tourism companies that already use robotics include Hilton, Royal Caribbean and Expedia.

However, experts recommend caution.

They warn that by introducing service robots into daily operations, organizations like hotels should start with caution.

In 2015, the Henn na Hotel (“Strange Hotel”) in Japan received a lot of publicity and an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first robot hotel.

Their owners hoped to compensate for the labor shortage by using robots to store luggage, mix cocktails, clean rooms and even dance in the lobby.

But when the robots were placed, things went wrong.

The concierge failed to answer guest questions. The dancers in the hall broke. The luggage racks could not climb stairs or leave the hotel.

However, experts say that in other parts of the travel industry, the general direction of travel is towards greater automation.

For example, Gatwick Airport, near London, is planning a test this summer of a robot that will automatically park and recover the cars of those who fly from its terminals, after similar tests in France and Germany. And more hotels are installing automatic registration machines to cut lines in the lobby.

Management can carefully evaluate whether the robots are really beneficial for the quality of the service or if they are having a negative impact.

Robots can suffer the same problems that computers face in terms of cybersecurity. If a robot is hacked, it can present great security and privacy risks.

However, most specialists think that robots have a great job to do in the world tourism industry in the near future and already have good examples in this regard.

The revolutionary aspect of AI is that travel and hospitality brands are currently exploring ways to integrate AI technology into their search processes and chat platforms to improve customer service from the time of booking.

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