With the number of tourist increasing and labor in short supply, a new hotel chain is making its mark in the world with a staff of robots. Henn Hotels of Japan is using robots as front-desk staff, porters and cleaners. It is an audacious move in a business that’s long relied on the human touch.
“We think that the number of people who can work for hotels will be less and less because of the population decline,” Yasuhiko Hoshi, associate director at HIS Hotel Holdings, tells the Innovation Group. “We reached the idea that hotel employees can be replaced by robots.”
The Henn Hotels group (Henn means strange in Japanese) is owned by a Japanese travel agency HIS. The first branch opened in 2015 near a Nagasaki theme park operated by the company.
The robots can take a little getting used to. “The robots are quite beautiful, but at first they are a little scary,” a 30-year-old guest from Thailand told the Japan Times.