E-commerce and media behemoth Alibaba has ventured into the hospitality business too. And like all its other ventures, this is a class apart and a true breakthrough in innovation. This venture is a hotel called FlyZoo in Hangzhou’s Qin Cheng Li shopping centre. And what could be so special about the hotel? It is a futuristic, AI-powered hotel! So, you will not be greeted by receptionists at the front desk. Well, not live, human receptionists. Rather, robots will guide you around and help you check-in, find your way to your room, and help you with your laundry.
This 290-room hotel will see ‘Genie,’ a robot that is one-metre in height, gliding through the hallways helping hotel guests. Further, the check-in process will be done by scanning the faces of the guests. The facial recognition system will help them use their faces as keycards to open doors. So, guests don’t have to worry about misplacing their room keys or cards. Moreover, Alibaba’s voice-based digital assistant will help guests to change the room temperatures, use the electronic household appliances, and adjust the lights. Really, there are no knobs or switches in rooms!
Each room also has a butler called “Tmall Elf,” which is in charge of controlling things in the room.
However, not all the employees are robots. There are human ones too. For instance, the chefs and cleaning staff are humans. Also, for guests who are reluctant to scan their faces, human customer service executives will help them with the conventional check-in processes.
Robots will also deliver from the restaurant food that guests can order using the FlyZoo app. And if you are in the mood for some cocktails, a large robotic arm will prepare an amazing drink for you. Then, you will be billed automatically for your food using the facial recognition cameras.
The check-out process is as hassle-free as the check-in. Once the stay is over, guests simply press a button on the app. They are then charged by means of Alibaba’s online wallet system. Subsequently, all the facial recognition data is deleted from Alibaba’s systems.
What’s more, there are seven theme-rooms too that will provide guests with an amazing experience. For instance, images of Big Ben and other tourist attractions are put up in the Britain-themed room. Also, if guests like any furniture or other pieces in the hotel rooms, they can just click a picture and add them to their shopping carts.
Wang Qun, the CEO of FlyZoo believes that such an AI-powered system will improve the efficiency of the hotel and by eliminating human interaction, it will also enhance the consistency of service provided. It will also reduce the costs associated with expensive labour.
Catering to the new-age digital customers, the hotel is located very close to the headquarters of Alibaba. It opened only in December last year. The charges of the room are around $200 per night.
What do you think of such a hotel? Would you like it? Or do you prefer human interaction? Do let us know!0