Robots at M Social Singapore hotel help ease hospitality manpower crunch

AURA robot at M Social Singapore (Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Guests at lifestyle design hotel M Social Singapore may bump into an interesting staff member during their stay, either along the corridors or in the lobby.

The Automated Room-Service Associate, or AURA for short, has been with the hotel since December 2016. ‘She’ can usually be found by the front desk, unless ‘she’ is out making a delivery of items like towels and drinks to guests at M Social, a hotel targeted at millennials and the millennial mindset.

Once ‘she’ (hotel staff refer to the robot as female) receives a request, a staff member will place the items in AURA’s top compartment, and ‘she’ will deliver them directly to the guest’s room. ‘She’ can operate lifts to go between the floors, and ‘her’ sensors allow ‘her’ to detect obstacles or passengers along her route.

This robot concierge, developed by California-based robot builders Savioke, is the first of its kind deployed within Southeast Asia, said Lee Richards, Vice-president of Operations at Millennium Hotels and Resorts, which operates M Social Singapore.

“With the technology within Singapore and also Asia, we believed it was only right to embrace Singapore, and we had that opportunity here at M Social to take that advantage,” Richards told Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore in an interview on Thursday (31 August).

While AURA’s current role is limited to delivering items to guests, ‘her’ brother AUSCA (Automated Service Chef Associate) will soon up the robotic game by being able to cook three different types of eggs for hotel guests – omelette, scrambled, and sunny-side up.

However, humans won’t have to fear the robot apocalypse just yet. “Technology can help, and it will help, certainly,” said Richards, explaining that the robots free employees to engage with customers on more meaningful services which require the human element.

“We are committed, and certainly we see the hospitality industry in the future embracing the technology to assist and help services,” Richards said, adding that robots would help with the manpower shortage in the hospitality industry in Singapore.

Richards also said he and his technology department were looking at other services these robots could provide, including having them assist guests in booking tickets for airlines or attractions.

While there is only one AURA at M Social Singapore, there plans to bring more of these robots to other hotels within the chain. Millennium Hotels and Resorts includes several other hotels, such as the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, M Hotel Singapore, Orchard Hotel Singapore and Studio M Hotel.

Here’s a peek at Aura in action:

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