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Create an Exponential Impact on Hospitality With Service Robots

Revolutionize hospitality through robotics.

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  • Hospitality is slow to adopt new innovations, and the industry needs to realize the benefits of robotics to remain competitive.
  • Exponential IT is creating pressure on industry leaders to remain competitive, and keeping up with the fast pace of industry trends and vendors is difficult.
  • Operators have been challenged with labor shortages for years, causing the quality of service to decline.
  • Increased costs and decreased demand have squeezed margins for operators.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

Service robots are a valuable technology investment in the hospitality industry. Their efficient futuristic use and contactless strategies combat long-standing industry challenges and will help sustains the business.

Impact and Result

Develop vendor requirements and a shortlist of vendors that best fit the needs of the business by:

  • Determining knock-out criteria eliminating vendors that do not meet the business use case needs.
  • Adjusting vendor and product weightings across various suitability factors for the overall vendor ranking.
  • Assessing the importance of advanced features to determine the best-fit vendor.

  • Create an Exponential Impact on Hospitality With Service Robots Research & Tools

    1. Create an Exponential Impact on Hospitality With Service Robots Storyboard – Revolutionize hospitality through robotics.

    The hospitality industry must embrace Exponential IT to confront challenges like labor shortages. Adopting innovation, especially service robots, boosts competitiveness and sustainability. Organizations must evaluate value, requirements, and vendors to seamlessly integrate transformative technologies and thrive.

    2. Service Robot Vendor Landscape Shortlist Tool – Use this tool to shortlist service robot vendors.

    This tool allows an enterprise to profile its service robot requirements and generate a rank-ordered vendor shortlist from a fixed list of vendors. Vendor profiles are based on Info-Tech’s recent in-depth review of the service robot solution market.

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    Create an Exponential Impact on Hospitality With Service Robots

    Revolutionize hospitality through robotics.

    Analyst Perspective

    Pioneering the future of hospitality with robotics.

    With a surge in Exponential IT growth, the hospitality industry still struggles to embrace innovation to combat long-standing industry challenges, such as labor shortages, increased costs, and decreased service quality.

    Hospitality leaders need to realize the positive effects of welcoming innovation such as robotics to improve their competitive stance and business sustainability. While service robots pose great benefits as a solution for the industry, they still come with their challenges.

    Organizations must determine the value of a service robot to their business to suffice the cost, analyze requirements, and prioritize vendors for consideration to successfully go to RFP and implementation.

    Overall, the hospitality industry must grasp the importance of strategic and transformative technologies such as robotics to enable Exponential IT growth and survive in this new era.

    Elizabeth Silva, Senior Research Analyst, Gaming, Hospitality, Sports & Entertainment Industry

    Elizabeth Silva
    Senior Research Analyst, Gaming, Hospitality, Sports & Entertainment Industry
    Info-Tech Research Group

    Executive Summary

    Your Challenge Common Obstacles Info-Tech's Approach
    Hospitality is slow to adopt new innovations, and the industry needs to realize the benefits of robotics to remain competitive.

    Exponential IT is creating pressure on industry leaders to remain competitive at a fast rate, where keeping up with industry trends and vendors is difficult.

    Operators have been challenged with labor shortages for years, causing the quality of service to decline.

    Increased costs and decreased demand have squeezed margins for operators.

    Hoteliers struggle to determine the value and impact service robots can provide to their business, due to the significant investment costs of robots.

    Many industry leaders are trying to innovate their business through transformational technologies to achieve an exponential status but are unaware of the vendors that can assist them in their transformation journey.

    Determining the type of service bot use cases that make the most sense for the business is difficult.

    Develop vendor requirements and a shortlist to determine which vendors best fit the needs of the business by:
    • Determining knock-out criteria; eliminating vendors who do not meet the business use case needs.
    • Adjusting vendor and product weightings across various suitability factors for the overall vendor ranking.
    • Assessing the importance of advanced features to determine the best-fit vendor.

    Info-Tech Insight
    The futuristic use of service robots within Hospitality is a valuable technology investment because of its contactless strategies and efficient use, combating long-standing industry challenges and sustaining the business.

    Robots are defined by the deployment environment

    Service Robots
    Service robots are used in commercial and domestic settings, such as vacuuming, retrieving products, cooking, etc. These robots are designed to assist humans in certain tasks rather than replace them. The design of each service robot varies based on its use case.

    Industrial Robots
    Industrial robots are largely deployed in manufacturing to perform production-related jobs that are undesirable or unsafe for humans to perform. These robots are ideal for automating repetitive processes such as welding, material handling, painting, packaging, etc.

    Chart of Revenue of Global Robotics Market

    In 2023, the robotics market generated over US$37 billion in revenue globally. About three-quarters of this revenue comes from service robots. While the global robotics market is predicted to grow, service robotics is forecasted to grow at a higher rate than industrial robots' revenue.

    Pie chart of Service Robots and Industrial Robots

    Graph of Revenue of Global Commercial Service Robots

    Europe generated the most revenue at US$6.82 billion in 2023 across all regions, with North America coming in second at US$5.78 billion. However, Asia is the largest consumer of service robots, with 1.3 million units in 2023, despite its lower revenue growth.

    Source: Statista, 2023; Robots Done Right, 2024.

    Robots will improve services and combat challenges

    The robotics industry has been making significant improvements to the hospitality industry. Service robots can be used in a variety of departments such as housekeeping, food and beverage, guest services, and security, where labor shortages have been apparent for years.

    The Westgate Resort of 3,000 rooms struggles to fill 200 open positions as job insecurity, intensity, and low pay discourage people from working hospitality frontline positions.
    Source: MSN, 2023.

    Service robots improve operational efficiency by automating manual tasks, creating personalized experiences, and saving time while combating labor shortage issues. Robots do not need breaks, covering more shifts and eliminating manual tasks for human employees.

    The Hilton Austin Airport Hotel in Texas uses housekeeping robots to vacuum carpets while housekeeping attendants clean the room. This saves 5.5 minutes per room, increasing productivity with some challenges such as getting into tight corners.
    Source: Accom News, 2023.

    "According to a 2023 National Restaurant Association survey, 79% of restaurant operators report difficulty hiring, and 62% report they're understaffed."
    – Harvard Business Review, 2023.

    The global hospitality robots market is expected to reach over 3 million by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 25.5% between 2021 and 2030.
    Source: Allied Market Research, 2021.

    Unlock the value of AI-enabled robotics through a human-centric approach

    Robots should be developed to augment rather than replace human capabilities across the industry. Hospitality is a human-centric industry, and this approach is critical to its success. With AI-enabled service robots, the ability to boost productivity, flexibility, and quality of work is possible.

    AI and robotics will not take jobs from humans, despite the concern.

    A human-centric approach to robotics enables human invention and creativity to be augmented by AI-enabled technologies. If these technologies are being considered to innovate and improve processes with human opinion and capabilities involved, the economy will see positive economic growth and profit from AI and robotics.

    Source: MIT Technology Review, 2023; Harvard Business Review, 2023.

    Human-Centric Considerations

    Education and Training
    Actively support staff in internal and external education and training for service robots and career changes to reinforce organizational culture, job security, and the adaptability and readiness of the business to innovation. Before adopting service robots, it is important to express the purpose of service robots to the guests and employees to ensure clarity. Additionally, successful onboarding of the service bot is essential for employees to feel comfortable working with the new technology and with how their roles have changed.

    Service Analysis
    Identify service challenges within the organization and discuss with relevant stakeholders if and how a service robot can solve your challenges and enhance operations (i.e. in what ways will a service robot help the staff with the organization's current challenge?).

    Physical Limitations
    Identify potential limitations of the organization's physical space for robot navigation feasibility. While robot manufacturers provide different types of navigation technology, it's important to consider the type of technology that makes sense for the organization's physical space. Identifying the potential chokepoints for robots and considering minor or major design upgrades may be necessary to improve services and process flow to the guest (e.g. uneven flooring, room separators, etc.).

    The implementation of service robots can mitigate challenges with the right process

    The implementation of service robots can mitigate challenges with the right process

    Info-Tech Insight
    While service robots provide a solution to industry challenges, they do present challenges of their own. A proper framework is required to effectively implement the technology.

    Service robots have multiple characteristics

    Service robots are developed with different types of technologies, intelligence, roles, and mechanics to complete certain tasks. These AI characteristics and alignment are important for service robot functionality.

    While robotics are not new, contactless trends and economic challenges have boosted the need and want for service robots within the hospitality industry.

    Service Robots have multiple characteristics

    Source: ISACA, 2022; Boston Hospitality Review, 2021; Springer Link, 2017.

    Service robots require a robust workflow architecture to provide proper experiences

    Robotics can increase business efficiency and other valuable resources, but it depends on how you implement the robots within the organization. Many challenges should be considered and overcome to execute service robots successfully.

    Service robots require a robust workflow architecture to provide proper experiences

    A best-fit approach for service robots depends on several use-case considerations

    Leverage the following criteria to rationalize the type of service robot vendor you decide to partner with.

    The amount of space and storage the robot has for storing items (e.g. number of trays, levels).

    Robust ability of navigation (e.g. LiDAR, visual navigation, preprogrammed mapping).

    Manual or self-charging abilities. How many hours does one charge last.

    Purchase Method
    The preferred method of buying the solution (e.g. SaaS, lease, purchase outright).

    The type of use cases that can be executed through its operating environment, intelligence, roles, technology, and mechanics.

    Maintenance & Resources
    The in-house or outsourced resources and capacity such as skills and access to IT teams for service and maintenance.

    Service robots can each cost between US$20,000 and US$30,000 or more, plus maintenance fees. Most properties decide to lease rather than purchase robots outright until the benefits are realized, where outright purchase may then make sense.
    Source: CDC Gaming Reports, 2023.

    Service robots can be utilized across hospitality use cases

    Service robots can be utilized across hospitality use cases

    Each use case impacts hospitality value chains

    Each use case impacts hospitality value chains

    Create an exponential impact on Hospitality with service robots

    Create an exponential impact on Hospitality with service robots

    Track cost savings and efficiency improvements through service robots

    Service robots should provide the business with a positive return on investment (ROI). It's important to keep track of this and showcase the positive impact back to the business.

    Metrics Expenses Total Investment Difference Success Factors
    Service robot (full-time hours) Cost per deployment Deployment costs Ideally, want the investment to be less than a human to showcase a positive return. Trending down
    Shipping cost percent of revenue Shipping costs
    Total cost Monthly payment OR yearly costs
    Human performing same task (full-time hours) Cost per hire Recruitment and onboarding costs Trending up
    Cost per employee trained Training
    Total annual salary of employee Annual compensation
    Total annual taxes paid of employee Annual employer taxes

    Enhance services and address labor shortages with robotics

    Bae Hospitality adapts to trends with Pudu Robotics.

    Use Cases:

    • Bussing
    • Restaurant Delivery
    Challenge Solution Results
    Bae Hospitality was struggling to improve its service quality due to labor shortages across the hospitality industry.

    The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on Bae Hospitality to adapt to contactless trends with an innovative approach that will also combat their challenges.

    This showcased the decision to implement service robots into their restaurant operations.

    Pudu Robotics was chosen as the service robot provider due to its superior navigation software which improved dispatching and overall handling of food and beverage.

    A total of four bussing and delivery service robots were implemented in the restaurants to improve human service with the assistance of robots.

    The robots took less than a day to set up, matching the delivery speeds of humans once reconfiguration of the floor plan was done to accommodate for robotic navigation.

    The overall restaurant service has been enhanced by allowing human staff to focus on the customer experience.

    The robots cover five to ten miles a day, with autonomous charging lasting 12 to 16 hours. This is equivalent to $116 saved per hour: $7.25 (average US minimum wage) x 16 hours=$116.

    • Speed and efficiency rating: 8/10
    • Reliability rating: 9/10
    • Overall satisfaction: 9/10

    INDUSTRY: Hospitality
    SOURCE: Info-Tech Research Group Interview, Jan. 2024.

    Improve dining room performance with robotic innovation

    Culinary Service Group (CSG) implemented robotics in their healthcare residence.

    Use Cases:

    • Bussing
    • Restaurant Delivery
    Challenge Solution Results
    CSG wanted to improve the quality of life for residents at their upscale independent living healthcare facility.

    Determining how to improve the resident experience, and operational efficiency, and receive an ROI through innovative technologies was the key challenge.

    CSG needed to prove that innovations like service robots can provide benefits such as streamlining tasks, saving money, and allowing human staff to have more meaningful time to spend with residents.

    CSG decided to pilot two different service robots to compare to their human staff. The chosen robots were Servi by Bear Robotics and Matradee by Richtech. Both service robots were used for bussing and delivery of food and beverages.

    Both robots showed an improvement in reducing disruptions due to unforeseen tasks or short-staffing, allowing human staff to focus on more meaningful tasks.

    There is a significant ROI demonstrated over three years for both robots when compared to hiring part-time diet aids.

    ROI from potential labor cost savings:
    • Servi: US$60,000
    • Matradee: US$64,500

    Both robots showed a long battery life of 13 hours without recharging, which provided 92 hours of labor per week, improving operational efficiency and where time is being spent (repetitive tasks vs. caring for residents).

    This pilot suggests that service robots are an asset in transforming hospitality services for the better of the industry.

    INDUSTRY: Residential Healthcare
    SOURCE: Culinary Services Group, n.d.

    Introduce significant advancements in casino security technology

    Enhancing casino security with Knightscope's K5 Robot.

    Use Case:
    • Security & Surveillance
    Challenge Solution Results
    The M Resort was struggling to ensure the safety and security of its guests within the Las Vegas Valley, where traditional security measures would not suffice.

    This caused the need for new and innovative solutions to improve security and surveillance capabilities.

    M Resort decided to implement Knightscope's K5 Robot to patrol the casino floor and resort property, including parking lots, calling it the "M Bot."

    M Bot has 50 sensors and cameras providing real-time monitoring and accessibility from any computer. Features include:

    • Security dispatch button – allowing for direct human-to-human communication through the robot.
    • Delivery of verbal messages and alerts.
    Deploying M Bot has significantly advanced security and surveillance capabilities across the property by:
    • Complementing the existing human security team.
    • Operating 22 hours a day with autonomous charging.
    • Offering an additional resource of safety to guests and staff.
    • Streamlining security operations.

    INDUSTRY: Gaming & Hospitality
    SOURCE: Fox 5 News, 2023; Yahoo Finance, 2023.

    Future legislative challenges and risks associated with robotics

    Potential Implications

    Impact on tax systems

    • Over half the revenues collected by the federal government come from individual income and payroll taxes. Robots will not pay taxes, with the potential of replacing humans in some areas, decreasing the amount of taxes the government collects and negatively impacting the economy.

    Labor income for human health and wellbeing

    • Working is a fundamental need for human survival. Without employment, humans are more susceptible to mental health challenges and remaining unemployed long-term, especially when related to layoffs due to automation.

    Union interference

    • Unions will more than likely impact robotic usage within the industry to protect current workers and future jobs, where there will be limitations on what robots can and cannot do.

    Potential Solutions

    Robot tax

    • Clearly defining robot labor to be taxed the same as human labor.

    New job credits

    • The implementation of a tax credit for hiring individuals who were unemployed or entering employment due to layoffs from automation.

    Union interference

    • Worker protection agreements to clearly define the human-centric usage of robotics and transitioning human staff to higher-positioned roles rather than replacement.

    Challenges to the Solutions

    Robot tax

    • Definition of what is and is not a robot.
    • Determination of how many jobs were displaced due to robots.
    • Differentiation between job-enhancing and job-replacing robots.

    New job credits

    • Robotics and AI increase the amount of knowledge and training needed to perform jobs of the future.

    Union interference

    • Unions may implement strict rules around robotic usage, creating a barrier to effective adoption.
    • Requires reskilling and education to enter the workforce of the future, which many individuals cannot afford.

    Source: McGill Law Journal, 2019; MIT News, 2022.

    Info-Tech Insight
    Economic implications are out of the operator's control, however it's important to consider the timeline for these potential implications in the next five to ten years.

    Leverage Info-Tech's vendor landscape of the service robot market to identify vendors that fit requirements

    Evaluated vendors with baseline functionality and solution set for any hospitality organization.

    Provides mobile robotic solutions to the healthcare and hospitality industries, where they engineer, sell, and support solutions.

    Bear Robotics
    Develops autonomous mobile robots for the food service and hospitality industries.

    Cobalt Robotics
    Creating robots with machine learning capabilities to replace undesirable jobs and allow humans to focus on what matters.

    Building autonomous security robots to better secure locations and develop a safer world.

    Focusing on automation through their sensing, control, and thinking technology to contribute to the development of society.

    Pringle Robotics
    Committed to providing holistic support and innovative solutions to empower people and communities to be more productive.

    Pudu Robotics
    Dedicated to design, R&D, production, and sales of service robots across industries and the globe.

    Relay Robotics
    Supplier of simple and autonomous service robots that work with humans to provide elevated experiences.

    Richtech Robotics
    Transforming the service industry through collaborative robotic solutions to enhance the customer experience and business.

    SoftBank Robotics
    Specializes in the successful transformation of work, utilizing autonomous and robotic solutions.

    Provides safe and cost-effective automated solutions to the hospitality industry.

    Vendor functional criteria

    Table stakes are the minimum standards a product must have to get reviewed. Many vendors go above and beyond the outlined table stakes.

    Advanced features are capabilities that allow for differentiation of the market players and use case performance.

    Category Features Description
    Table Stakes Navigation and mechanics Ability to move and navigate in different environments with path planning capabilities or stationed in a defined environment.
    Power efficiency Battery monitoring and charging capabilities.
    Sensors and perception Sensors such as cameras, LiDAR, etc. for environment scanning, object recognition, and perception.
    Level of intelligence Whether the robot has mechanical, analytical, intuitive, or emotional level of intelligence determines its advancement.
    Role advancement Whether the robot is assistive, augmented, or an autonomous role determines its advancement.
    Connectivity Integration with communication protocols for connectivity and ability to interact with other devices and systems.
    Data security and privacy Implementation of security practices to protect data and hardware while complying to privacy regulations.
    User interface and manipulation User-friendly interfaces for human interactions with voice or touch-based controls.
    Advanced Features Autonomous charging Self-charging capabilities through docking or wireless charging.
    Artificial intelligence & machine learning AI and ML algorithms for improved decision making and learning for task optimization and adaptation to new environments.
    Natural language processing Language understanding for better communication with users.
    Speech recognition Ability to process voice into structured text and vice versa.
    Autonomous learning Continuous learning and self-improvement through experience and feedback.
    Computer vision Enhanced visual interpretation of environments for better object recognition and perception.
    Environmental interactions Ability to interact with IoT ecosystems and integrate with other smart infrastructures for seamless navigation and collaboration.
    Predictive maintenance Predictive analytics anticipate and prevent potential malfunctions, monitoring, and reporting.

    Vendor scoring focused on product attributes and vendor performance in the market

    Scoring methodology
    Info-Tech scored each vendor's overall product attributes, capabilities, and market performance.

    Features are scored individually as mentioned in the previous slide. The scores are then modified by the individual scores of the vendor across the product and vendor performance features.

    • Features, usability, overall affordability, and the technical features of the product are considered and scored.
    • The vendor's performance in the market is evaluated across four dimensions.

    Where the vendor places on the scale is determined by information, industry position, and information provided by customer references, and/or available from public sources.

    Product Evaluation Features Vendor Evaluation Features
    Features The solution provides basic, advanced features, and multiple functionalities. Viability Vendor is profitable, knowledgeable, and will be around for the long term.
    Usability The end-user and administrative interfaces are intuitive and offer a streamlined workflow. Strategy Vendor is committed to the space and has a future product and portfolio roadmap.
    Affordability Implementing and operating the solution is affordable given the technology. Reach Vendor offers global coverage and can sell and provide post-sales support.
    Architecture Multiple deployment options, platform support, and integration capabilities are available. Sales Vendor channel partnering, sales strategies, and process allow for flexible product acquisition.

    Revolutionize hospitality through robotics.

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    • Call 1: Review the research and vendor landscape to discuss potential use cases that would provide value to the business.
    • Call 2: Determine knock-out criteria and adjust weights of suitability factors to determine vendor ranking and importance of advanced features.


    Elizabeth Silva


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