As the application of artificial intelligence (AI) advances begin to catch up with the hype, robotics may finally find its way into the meetings world. This is especially true in hotels, where robots are assisting some hotel employees by taking on tasks that could be considered a time-suck. But don’t be alarmed: these robots come in peace.

The Face of AI Delivery

Savioke was one of the first company to place autonomous delivery robots in the hospitality industry. Officially named “Relay,” the robot uses Wi-Fi and 3D sensors to carry out simple tasks. From delivering towels to room service, Relay accommodates both guests and employees.

Photo of Relay

“[Relay] frees up team members to focus on serving guests. Relay is like an extra helper for busy staff,” says Savioke CEO Steve Cousins.

The glowing, moving canister is simple yet efficient. With a “walking” speed roughly the same rate as a human’s, timely delivery comes with a phone call to alert guests when it is at the door.

To add whimsy to the efficient improvement and make technology seem friendlier, many hotels name their robots. At Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel, guests meet Elvis and Priscilla. And at Luma Hotel Times Square, Alina will be on the other side of the door.

“Guests almost unanimously love interacting with Relay. His friendly, approachable ‘personality’ is a hit with everyone,” says Cousins.

Virtual Inclusion

Savioke isn’t the only company getting in on the fun of robot-human interaction. Double Robotics produces a rolling stand for an iPad that can project video, record and share information.

Hoteliers can give site tours and attend meetings using a camera, allowing out-of-town attendees to enter the room.

Photo of Pepper

In the Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, Pepper uses AI developed by SoftBank Robotics. With similar abilities to Alexa and Siri, Pepper can greet guests, provide directions and answer questions relevant to the hotel.

Augmented Staffing

Cousins stresses that robots will not force humans out of jobs. “Service robots like Relay are helpers, assisting humans with their jobs,” he explains. “In fact, at several hotels where Relay is deployed, new jobs have been created.”

So don’t worry about over-using Elvis or Alina—they’re there to make you comfortable, and there’s always a human available when you want one.