Hotelier Indonesia Automating Indonesia’s hotels
By David Topolewski, CEO of Qooco

It is not often that you hear the words ‘Automation’ and ‘Hotel’ used in the same sentence. The finance industry is embracing Robotics Process Automation (RPA) to automate many of their back-office functions, manufacturing has used machines to automate many of their processes for years, but hotels somehow seem immune, despite the presence of many jobs that are ripe for automation.

This could be about to change the back-end of our hotels. Here are three areas in which automation could transform the makeup of hotels:

  • The robot housekeeper – A few years ago, researchers at the University of Berkeley introduced us to Brett, a robot that could pick up and fold towels, (see video here), taking about 24 ½ minutes for each towel. While this may seem slow, the fact that a robot is able to detect, scan and manipulate a ‘soft’ object is impressive. Fast forward a few years, and the robot is now able to connect Lego pieces, hang shirts on a hanger and fix a toy. Still no human, but robots are getting better, slowly, and it may not be long before they are employed to assist current housekeepers
  • The end of the accountant? – Dozens of employees are hired by hotel accounts departments to process the hundreds of invoices, claims and bills that run through on a daily basis. This often requires little more than checking the invoice, copy-pasting data, transferring information – rules based, repetitive tasks. Robotics Process Automation (RPA) is software that uses computer systems exactly as a human does – via the user interface (e.g. Windows). Highly accurate, and never making mistakes, RPA does the monotonous tasks that humans simply are not designed to do, and can significantly reduce cost and improve efficiency for (often cash-strapped) hotels.
  • Counting the cost – Technology can now detect physical items too. SAP software allows Airline-service crews to scan the number of paper cups they bring into an airplane. Hotels still employ people to conduct inventory checks on a daily basis for everything from the amount of shampoo and soap to cans of tomatoes and bottles of olive oil. Counting and recounting stock takes hours, and is the kind of mundane

While technology has been added to the front-of-house in an effort to make the guest experience more efficient and smoother, it seems that back-of-house is too often neglected. From RPA to robot housekeepers, hotels will soon have the ability to create some real cost savings for the hotel of the future.


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