Are robotic bartenders just the beginning?

When cruise lines released robotic bartenders into the mainstream, they were treated with mixed reviews. How would a patron’s teasing smile and gentle wink score the stronger pour? There was chat of the initiative being a money play, a way to reduce staff and control alcohol distribution. But in a COVID environment, the robo-tenders seem to be a solution. As all of the travel industry searches for operational solutions to new safety protocols, what other technological advances will consumers see in the months, and years to come.

Smartphones replace everything

Consumers have seen restaurant menus and paper in-room handouts replaced with scannable QR codes that display all your options on your mobile device. Contactless hotel check-in capabilities, mobile room keys, touchless payments, and in-app ordering and appointments-booking had already crept into the hospitality sector, but now almost every aspect of the experience can now be accessed through guests’ own mobile devices. Customer-facing tech tools are being deployed to provide remote access to front-desk, concierge and customer-service functions. With good integrations, travelers may not know if they’re speaking to a chatbot, property staff, or someone across the globe. Either way, the industry is putting immediate assistance straight into guests’ hands without the need to come face-to-face with hotel employees.

Even in-room controls, like the remote to your television, could fall to your smartphone. In some locations, guests can pair their mobile devices with their in-room TVs to use as remote controllers, to access online versions of in-room paper menus, order room service and more, simply by scanning a personalizing QR code on their TV.

Adaptations to Facial Recognition

Casinos in Las Vegas, along with other institutions, have adopted facial recognition tools to help them identify key guests on their properties. Taking this to new levels, these recognition engines could help monitor and enforce mask use. Scanning the property, these eyes in the sky could identify individuals while they’re wearing masks, and help alert management when someone enters the premises without a mask or is wearing it improperly. Add in a thermal-camera integration, and the industry will have another safety net in place.

Geo-Tracking and Alerts

In addition to rail operators, bus companies can alert passengers as to when their coaches arrive at a certain distance from the platform, to avoid overcrowding in stations. Geo-prompted push notifications can also come in very handy for keeping guests updated on safety protocols and other vital information about their visit.

The Power of UV 

Hotels and cruise lines understand the importance of sterilization and have taken a page from hospitals and healthcare environments. With high-powered UVC technology, hoteliers and cruise lines can safely, quickly, and effectively eliminate up to 99.9 percent of the surface and airborne pathogens in indoor settings. With the right systems, they can effectively sterilize larger spaces throughout hotels, cruise ships, entertainment venues, spas, restaurants, shops, etc. without using chemicals or leaving behind residue.

Artificial Maids

Similar to the robots cleaning the isles of your local Stop and Shop, and much more complex than your household Roomba, robotic maids are sweeping their way into the travel industry.  Service robots boast advanced information and communications technology, including space-mapping, autonomous driving ability, and voice recognition.

The biggest question, and one that will take time to answer, is if travelers will feel comfortable with these new innovative solutions. AAA Travel understands you may have questions about your personal plans, and how the current environment may impact your travel. To speak to a AAA Travel Agent, please call 1-800-222-7448.