Robots are taking Singapore’s hotel industry by storm – here’s where to go for some robot hospitality

Singapore’s ongoing efforts to transform the hotel industry are no secret.

With labour shortage and technologcal disruption threatening the viability of the traditional hospitality model, the city-state has time and again reminded hotels to pick up the pace if they want to stay relevant in the 21st century.

Since the launch of the Hotel Industry Transformation Map by the Ministry for Trade and Industry (MTI) in Nov 2016, many hotels have stepped up their game by procuring new technology and introducing revamped workflows to improve processes in their fight to survive an increasingly competitive landscape.

Fast forward a year later, some of the biggest names in the local hotel industry have already successfully implemented robots in not just back-end operations but also customer-facing roles.

Here are some of the hotels in Singapore where you will find robots performing the role of bellhop, butler, housekeeper and even chef.

1) M Social: Room service deliverer and an egg chef

This millennial-targeted hotel which calls billionaire Kwek Leng Beng its chairman was this week given two awards for the implementation of its room service robot Aura.

The robot Aura at work at M Social Singapore.
The Straits Times

Launched in 2016, Aura is a Front-of-House Autonomous Service Delivery robot which can ride the lift and navigate its way to a guest’s room with small deliveries such as bottled water, towels, toiletries and amenities.

Guests are notified by a phone call from Aura when it arrives, and can retrieve their items once the robot senses that the door has opened.

But Aura is not the only robot this boutique hotel has in store for guests.

Recently, M Social also introduced a Front-of-House Autonomous Service Chef robot called Ausca.

Ausca cracks two eggs to be fried for a guest’s breakfast.
M Social

Called Ausca, it prepare eggs for guests at the hotel’s in-house Beast and Butterflies restaurant.

Sunny-side-up eggs prepared by Ausca the robot.
M Social

Describing Ausca as a “chef-in-training”, M Social said that the robot can currently prepare eggs sunny-side-up or in the style of an omelette. But don’t worry, it will soon be able to make more egg variations as well.

2) Park Avenue Rochester Hotel: Robot bellhop and robot housekeeper

Early last year, this business hotel in One-North became the first in Singapore to employ robots to do manual work.

Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck collects food served by Park Avenue Rochester’s robot.
The Straits Times

Its Cobie robot is the bearer of good food as it is able to deliver room service orders directly to guests’ rooms, while the Robie robot can assist in housekeeping operations by transporting linen, waste and bulky items in between floors.

Robie, a robot which is being used by Park Avenue Rochester Hotel to handle housekeeping duties.
The Straits Times

According to the hotel, Cobie can make up to three food deliveries per trip, allowing hotel staff to focus on other operational work.

At the same time, Robie, which is has a more back-of-house purpose, is able to handle big loads and helps to save around 19.3 man-hours daily – equivalent to the work of 3.5 full-time employees.

3) Hotel Jen: Delivery robots dressed in uniform

Named Jeno and Jena, Hotel Jen’s robots at Orchard Gateway and Tanglin are “dressed” in bright-coloured uniforms and stationed at the hotels’ lobbies.

Both Jeno and Jena can ride the lift and deliver amenities and in-room dining meals to guests at any time of the day.

Jena delivers food to a guest at Hotel Jen Tanglin.
Hotel Jen

According to the hotel owned by Shangri-La International, these robots built by robot developer Savioke come with advanced sensors to help them avoid obstacles in their path.

Hotel Jen

Like M Social’s Aura, Jeno and Jena can make phone calls to guests’ rooms upon arrival.

And, they are safe too – moving at a speed of 2.5 km/h, which is slower than the average walking speed of human beings.

4) Yotel Singapore: Electronic from check-in to check-out

Part of an international chain of hotels run by Britain’s YO! Company, Yotel’s strength is in its ability to adopt technological innovations in its operations.

A “cabin” at Yotel Singapore with adjustable smart-bed, technowall and smart TV.
Yotel Singapore

The Yotel concept includes an electronic self-service check-in and check-out system; “techno walls” for lights, TV and air conditioning control; as well as smart-beds which can transform into sofas. Interactive delivery robots will also join the line-up in the near future.

Yotel Singapore’s robots.
The Straits Times

While it has yet to name the “male” and “female” robots to be introduced at its only Singapore location, Yotel has opened up suggestions to the public in a competition which ended yesterday (Nov 30).

5) Sofitel Singapore City Centre : Butler with a pretty name

Singapore’s newest Sofitel location has jumped on the robo-butler bandwagon with Sophie, a droid butler which is due to be launched in the near future.

The hotel, which opened its doors in November, has yet to reveal much information about its new butler but it is expected to deliver items directly to guests’ rooms.

The Joaquim Suite at Sofitel Singapore City Centre.
Sofitel Singapore City Centre

And with such a pretty name, we have high hopes it will also blend in with the luxury service the French hotel brand is known for.