Look out Rosie the Robot, Starwood Hotels' Aloft brand has a taskmaster of its own.
His (or her?) name; A.L.O. pronounced "el-oh", the hotels' first Botlr (short of robotic butler.) Standing just under 3 feet tall, A.L.O. comes dressed in a vinyl-collared butler uniform and will soon be on call all day and night to fulfill requests from guests.
Forget your toothpaste? Need more towels? How about a late-night chocolate bar? All guests of the hotel have to do is call the front desk, where staff will load up the Botlr with requested items, punch in the guest's room number and send it off to make the delivery, navigating hallways and even call for the elevator using Wi-Fi.
At the Aloft in Cupertino, California, A.L.O is being fine-tuned for the Aug. 20 official launch of this pilot program. If successful, the Botlrs will appear in nearly 100 properties. Brian McGuinness, senior vice president for the Aloft brand, said he could see having one or two Botlrs in each Aloft hotel. "I think there is a chance that this could go enterprise-wide based on a successful pilot," he said.
According to a study done at the University of Oxford, 47 percent of U.S. employment is at risk of being replaced by computerization, but Starwood says these robots are not intended to replace any employees. Rather, they are there to free them up from small tasks, leaving them more time to deal with customers face to face.
"It is certainly not replacing our staff but it is augmenting our ability to service our customers," McGuinness said.