Robot luggage handler replaces hotel portersJune 28th, 2011 by Andrew Moth | Categories: hotels, industry, products, technology, tourism
The world’s first in-hotel robotic luggage handler has gone into action at the new Yotel that has just opened in New York at Times Square West.
Yotel is a chain of futuristic budget hotels that first came to the attention of Hotel & Restaurant a few years ago. The concept was created by Simon Woodroffe (above left in this publicity shot that was taken in 2008) and Yotel CEO Gerard Greene, who opened the first inside London’s Gatwick South terminal in 2007.
The idea was conceived by Woodroffe after he was upgraded to first class on a flight. He decided to translate the language of luxury airline travel and Japanese capsule hotels into a small, but luxurious cabin. Greene evolved the idea into reality.
In December 2007, the brand opened its second airport location inside London’s Heathrow Airport Terminal 4. The third opened in the airside transit area at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, in September 2008.
The Yotel airport product is bookable by the hour, 24 hours a day, perfect for customers to refresh and relax during a long transit, delay or to get a decent night’s sleep before an early flight.
In addition to a futuristic design, Yotel New York has partnered with Stash Hotel Rewards, which is said to be the fastest-growing hotel loyalty program in the United States.
The partnership brings together two companies known for using technology and imaginative solutions to make travel more convenient, rewarding and fun. Both Yotel and Stash were named “Innovations of the Year” in 2010 by Smith Travel Research, a foremost source for hotel performance trends.
“We are confident that Yotel New York will be the kind of hotel that travellers will want to visit again and again,” said Greene. “It was therefore a key element of our opening plan to make sure that our customers get rewarded for their loyalty. We are thrilled to be able to offer our guests that kind of service through such an innovative program as Stash Hotel Rewards.”
Yotel New York has airline style checkin kiosks and Yobot, the world’s first in-hotel robotic luggage handler. Guests can enjoy a series of transformable and flexible spaces on Four FOUR which include:
• Mission Control, Yotel’s answer to a standard concierge desk;
• Club Lounge, with DJ booth, and individual Club Cabins for use by small groups;
• Dohyo, the only restaurant in New York with hydraulic tables that lower to transform into a performance area;
• Studiyo, flexible space for movie screening or morning yoga; and
• Terrace, the largest outdoor space of any hotel in New York.
Yotel New York boasts 669 cabins, most of which are Premium Cabins with:
• A sofa that becomes a bed at a flick of a switch;
• a techno wall fitted with a 32” flat-screen HD TV and iPOD or MP3 connection to allow for guests’ personal playlists to play through the TV speakers;
• a workdesk with multiple power points; and
• rejuvenating monsoon showers.
Yotel New York also has 19 First Class Cabins and three Two-Cabin VIP Suites, some with private outdoor terraces and hot-tubs.
“A moving bed, a monsoon shower and a techno wall – finally, the Jetsons have a place to call home in New York City,” said Jeff Low, CEO of Stash Hotel Rewards.
“I can’t wait to check-in and hand my suitcase to the Yobot or to speak to the concierge at Mission Control. It’s fun, and it’s upscale, and there’s nothing else like it. We think Stash members will love Yotel.”
Stash points are earned immediately at any of the 146 hotels that participate in the program, and never expire. Redemption is simple and black-out dates don’t exist.
Having successfully implemented the brand in UK and European airport locations, Yotel is looking to expand further. Key international locations are in the pipeline. Yotel says it can use space better than any other hotel.