Singapore is accelerating the adoption of hotel robotics, with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) yesterday announcing a line-up of partnered hotels and solution providers at the 3rd STB-Singapore Hotels Association Industry Conference.
The conference featured a special technology showcase that displayed new solutions in various stages of development and implementation across hotels in Singapore.
Examples included GTRIIP Global’s check-in, room access and in-room control mobile app platform; a laundry and linen inventory and delivery service powered by Laundry Network in collaboration with Republic Polytechnic and StarHub; as well as robotic food preparation by Kurve.
Kurve’s live egg station will soon be implemented in Hotel Jen’s properties, while Laundry Network is currently working with three local properties, including Four Points by Sheraton and Grand Copthorne Waterfront.
CEO of Laundry Network, TP Chan, remarked that adopting such technological solutions, especially in back-end processes, can “save up to 50 per cent in manual manpower”, and these resources can instead be retrained and redeployed to “more valuable” customer service roles.
This is especially crucial in today’s manpower crunch in the hospitality sphere, said Chan.
STB’s Ong Huey Hong, director, hotels & sector manpower, said: “We have seen quite a lot of adoption in the last two to three years. Our first adoption was in 2015, and there was only one hotel that did a pilot. Now, we have about 10 or 12 hotels committing or that have already adopted robotics.”
Ong explained that hotels were once concerned that robotics was “gimmicky”, but pilot programmes have since proven that robots can “enhance customer service and improve productivity”.
Such pilots have also nudged hospitality players out of the “’wait-and-see’ attitude” that they used to have, said Margaret Heng, executive director of Singapore Hotel Association (SHA).
She added that robots can also help hotels generate a talking point on social media, making them a “marketing tool” as well.
The showcase is part of STB’s Hotel Industry Transformation Map launched last year. Four of the solutions in the showcase were submitted to the Hotel Innovation Challenge organised by STB and SHA in May.
With the rise of digital trends, STB and the Hotel Innovation Committee, led by SHA, will chart a roadmap for the hotel industry to transform into “Smart Hotels” through the Smart Hotel Technology Roadmap.
The roadmap will identify the next-generation system capabilities such as facial recognition at check-in and payment wallets that typically define a digitally-driven smart hotel.