Tech Byte: Roboservice
Asurvey conducted by Travelzoo of more than 6,000 travelers in Asia, Europe, North America and South America found
that nearly 80 percent of respondents expect robots to play a part in their lives, including travel,
by 2020. Three quarters believe they will make
their lives significantly better and almost two-thirds of respondents would be comfortable
with robots being used in the travel industry.
The main advantages respondents see in
robots are related to general efficiency, data
retention and recall.
“Robots and artificial intelligence are
making their debut on the tourism stage, and
our research into global ac-
ceptance of robots working
in the travel industry is
largely positive,” says Rich-
ard Singer, Travelzoo’s Eu-
ropean president. “While
the advent of technology
such as robot butlers and
bartenders is hugely excit-
ing, it’s also very clear from our research that
consumers see the combination of robots and
humans working in tandem in customer-fac-
ing roles as the ideal solution.”
Some properties, like Starwood’s Aloft brand,
have already introduced their Botlr (robotic
butler) at two Aloft hotels in Silicon Valley, Ca-
lif., to assist with front and back-of-house duties
like delivering amenities to guests.
At Virginia’s Hilton McLean Tysons Corner,
a new robot powered by IBM’s Watson and
travel guide WayBlazer is making a debut
as part of a pilot program. Connie, named
for hotel chain founder Conrad Hilton, can
answer questions about
the hotel’s services and
amenities or direct guests
around the proper-
ty. Since it also uses
Connie can also offer up
suggestions for nearby
places to visit.
You want to take your group out on the open seas. Okay, maybe just on the bay, but finding a boat to rent, a captain, crew and
all that goes along with boating can be anything
but a pleasure cruise. GetMyBoat offers 45,000
water crafts in 154 countries, so you are bound to
find something to fit your needs.
The company started when co-founders
Sascha Mornell and Raf Colladow were sailing
the Atlantic and noticed all the boats just sitting
in the marinas. As an owner, Raf knew the high
costs associated with boats, and the idea of renting out vessels was the beginning of GetMyBoat.
Owners make their own boat more affordable
and those that want to use a boat don’t have to
deal with the responsibility of ownership.
From jet skis and kayaks to sailboats or
yachts, rentals can be made based on activity,
group size and overall need. Boats used in
film, television and advertisements like the
yacht used in 007’s The World is Not Enough,
Johnny Depp’s schooner from Rum Diaries,
and the classic yacht used in Tommy Hilfiger
commercials were all GetMyBoat rentals.
Kaitlin Soto, a restaurant and bever- age cart server for Eaglewood Resort & Spa, won Benchmark Hospitality International’s Chairman’s Award of
The annual award was created in 2005
by Burt Cabanas, founder and chairman
of Benchmark, to recognize an employee
who has exhibited extraordinary service
throughout the previous year.
Soto was recommended for the award
by Tom Garcia, Benchmark’s vice president
and general manager for Eaglewood Resort
& Spa, for her passion for nutrition and
education. The award was presented in a
special ceremony at Benchmark’s offices in
The Woodlands, Texas.
“Whether contributing her
time to healthy
eating programs for
or volunteering her
time to help
the lives of
the West Indies,
Kaitlin is tireless with
her devotion to help people
live healthier lives,” Cabanas said.
While attending Benedictine University, Soto received the 2013 Nutrition
Recognition Award, and in 2015 she
received the Nutrition Educator Award.
Working with a local cafe, she partici-
pated in events to encourage children to
choose healthy lifestyles and helped to
educate people to eat healthy. Soto also
volunteered with Sandals Foundation in
Antigua, West Indies, to educate children
and help them develop skills and engage
them in healthful habits, such as eating
fruits and vegetables early in life.
With an organization that operates
under the National School Lunch Pro-
gram, Soto helped develop menus and
standardized recipes to help children eat
“real” foods. She is also working with the
Charitable Promotions Organization in the
Chicagoland area to develop a website for
charities to promote their activities and
become an outlet for nutrition education.