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Robot Hospitality Featured In Alibaba’s New Hotel

A hotel run by robots? Just a few years ago, this seemed merely like a thing of the future. But as it turns out, the future is actually nearer than we thought.

China’s e-commerce behemoth Alibaba has finally revealed its newest hotel located in Hangzhou, China. The hotel, named “FlyZoo”, is the first futuristic hotel of its kind, featuring voice-controlled rooms and disc-shaped robots doing room service, dropping off in-house orders and delivering fresh towels right to your door.

The 290-room hotel was first unveiled last month to China’s interested public. Aside from the robots, the hotel also features facial scanners, allowing Chinese visitors to check-in ahead of time by simply scanning their faces using their smartphones. There’s no need for a keycard either, as facial scanners can also be found on elevators to determine the guests’ floor, and on doors to verify the guests’ identity. Inside the room, guests can use their voices to control the temperature, adjust the lighting, close the curtains, and order room service. As a safety measure, face and voice data are immediately erased from the system upon checkout.

FlyZoo’s biggest appeal is its ability to limit the interaction between guests and hotel staff. The high-tech automation also allows Alibaba to save money on human labor costs, one of the biggest expenses in the hospitality industry.

Andy Wang, CEO of Alibaba Future Hotel Management, says, “It’s all about the efficiency of the service and the consistency of service, because the robots are not disturbed by human moods. Sometimes, we say we are not in the mood, but the system and the robot will always be in the mood.”