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Thursday 19 October 2023

Are you happy to be checked into your hotel by a robot?

Would you rather be checked in or out of your hotel by a robot, or a human being?

As one of those who refuses to use self-checkout facilities at the supermarket, I know which camp I am in.

But one hotel group is banking on your preference being a robot.

Dorsett , which has hotels on the Gold Coast and in Melbourne, says its technology roll-out is "designed to deliver a more personalised guest experience" and ensure smooth operations behind the scenes.

Just how a robot delivers a more personalised guest experience is one of life's little mysteries.

The Hong Kong-based Dorsett group says its digital solutions are "designed to cater to the tech-savvy Dorsett Hotel customer".

Look out. Here comes some PR bulldust: "As a Hong Kong hospitality brand, Dorsett is tech-forward, innovating for the greater good of the customer experience. Tech solutions free up staff to provide a more hands-on experience right throughout the hotel."

Dorsett Melbourne and Gold Coast both have robots that have been nicknamed Tim and Tam by the Gold Coast team and Dorothy and Dexter by the team in Melbourne.

The ugly-looking short-arse critters have been programmed to greet guests, conduct the check-in/out process and provide guests with their keys. The robots will also provide information on local attractions and events.

The press release says the new Dorsett Melbourne and Gold Coast robots will not replace human staff but rather reduce waiting times by around 60% while offering "job enhancement and upskilling to our staff. The technology also controls hotel staff workflow during peak arrival times, improving customer service."

Narelle Welsh, director of sales and marketing at Dorsett Melbourne, is firmly onside with the hype.

“By using technology to free up our time at the front desk, the team are able to provide better service to our guests," she says. "We now have the time to be more attentive to the guest experience and the hotel runs more smoothly as a result.”

I can't wait to hear from guests whether this is, in fact, the case. I'd be much more impressed if the robots were trained to take your suitcases to your room, shine your shoes or deliver a morning paper to your door.

Other technology-based features of the hotels include in-room dining through QR code ordering (what about older guests who might not understand QR technology?), and paperless Do Not Disturb signs that are colour-coded with a miniature keypad in each room.

All televisions throughout the hotels have Chromecast for easy streaming from a phone to the TV - and that's certainly a good thing.


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