Hong Kong hotels operator L’hotel Group has turned to robots amid a COVID-19 driven slump in the hospitality sector, with the aim of providing meals to guests and ensuring reduced interaction with staff.
The company, which is wholly owned by property developer Chinachem Group, will have three artificial intelligence robots called Genie delivering meals and drinks to guests at its 432-room L’hotel Island South property in Wong Chuk Hang, which welcomes guests in quarantine, by mid-April. L’hotel said it was the first hotel to introduce meal-delivery robots in Hong Kong.
A Genie robot is already serving 130 to 150 meals a day, mostly to those quarantined. “With the rapid development of information technology, L’Hotel Group is convinced that the introduction of robots in the hotel industry, to implement automated services, will be a megatrend in the next five years,” the company said.
A spokeswoman for L’hotel said that none of its staff had been asked to take unpaid leave. The hotel, however, declined to reveal the number of staff and its occupancy rate.
The cost of each robot, acquired on a subscription basis from Hong Kong-based Rice Robotics, runs into six figures every month, said Victor Lee, the robotics company’s founder and chief executive.