Hotel Robots Fired for Being Annoying

A few years ago, I ran across an article about the Henn na Hoteru (“Strange Hotel” or alternatively, the “Changed Hotel“) in Japan. It featured robots everywhere, including animatronic velociraptors at check-in.

Perhaps we should not be surprised to hear that the hotel recently pulled its robots and replaced them with humans. The company is not doing away with the concept of robotic help altogether because it’s been a helpful mechanism for getting attention, but according to its president:

“When you actually use robots, you realize that there are places where they are not needed – or just annoy people,” Sawada said.

Here’s the original explanatory video for how to check in at the hotel:

The articles I’ve read about the hotel in the past have focused on its quirkiness, but when you read about the concept behind the hotel, it’s clear that much of the motivation here is efficiency. This is a company that set out trying to create a low-cost, heavily automated hotel experience. What they’re finding is that the technology is not quite there. I’ve no doubt though that there will eventually be a market segment for heavily automated hotel stays.

Just not yet.

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