At recently opened Hotel Trio in Healdsburg, room service is a completely different experience.
You still call and place your order with the front desk, and you still get items delivered to your door. But the employee who brings the order to your room is not human – it’s a robot, aptly named Rosé.
The four foot tall, roving cylinder is the first robot concierge in Sonoma County and has quickly become a celebrity. Rosé draws a crowd as she speeds up and down hallways or rides the elevator, and guests make multiple calls for room service just so that they can interact with the friendly machine. (Hotel Trio doesn’t charge for room service delivery, and Rosé doesn’t wait around for tips.)
“In addition to Rosé being super helpful, people absolutely love her,” says Brooke Ross, director of sales and marketing at Hotel Trio. Ross notes that even non-guests swing by the 122-room hotel to see the robot in action: “We have a beautiful lobby, a really great bar, bocce balls that light up when you play at night, but Rosé is hands down the most frequently photographed feature of our hotel.”
While Rosé is a Sonoma County novelty, the hotel robot trend has been going on for a few years. Hotels across the country are increasingly turning to autonomous robots to handle menial tasks in order to free up staff for more complicated jobs. Robots similar to Rosé are now being employed to deliver room service in Chicago, Las Vegas and Silicon Valley, while other models clean floors, answer questions and perform a variety of duties.
“Ready or not, robots are going to be a part of your hotel experience,” says Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst at Atmospheric Research Group in San Francisco. “This is a part of travel that will see major growth in the years ahead.”
Rosé, the robot at Hotel Trio, is manufactured by Savioke (pronounced “savvy-oak”), a San Jose-based company that has more than 80 robots in hotels nationwide.
The experience of receiving room service from this futuristic machine is certainly one to remember.
As Rosé approaches a room with a delivery, she calls the phone to let the guest know she’s outside. A tablet-sized screen on Rosé’s head greets the guest as they open the door, and confirms the order. Next, she opens a lid on top of her head and reveals a storage compartment containing the ordered items. Rosé then communicates a handful of questions surrounding customer satisfaction via her screen. She bids farewell, turns around and as she heads back toward her docking station near the front desk, she emits chirps that sound like a mix between R2D2 and a little bird.
In addition to being cute, Rosé is pretty sophisticated, too.
According to Lauren Schechtman, vice president of marketing and sales at Savioke, the robot butler determines how to get around with the help of sensors. Before Rosé starts a new employment, Savioke technicians map the property and program the robot with specific instructions about where to go on each floor.
“Once the robot is programmed, it’s basically self-sufficient until the next software upgrade,” says Schechtman. “That’s the beauty of having one of these in the hotel. It’s reliable. It doesn’t take breaks. It doesn’t need health care. It’s a good employee.”
As Rosé continues to be in high demand at Hotel Trio, a robot colleague might come in handy. At this point, however, getting a friend for Rosé is not in the hotel plans. And so, at least for now, Rosé remains the only hotel robot in the county of Sonoma.