21 Jun CTO Cartu Jon Reports – Robots Play Pivotal Role In Keeping Travel Safe During Covid-19 E…
Robots are changing the way the travel industry approaches cleaning as it grapples with how to restore confidence amid the Coronavirus pandemic. These futuristic machines have been in use in hospitals for years. While they come with substantial investment, robotic assistance also brings greater flexibility for companies as they can work more hours than humans with no risk of contracting Covid-19.
Still, robots can never replace humans in hospitality, an industry where service comes first. While some travelers may consider completely buying out a hotel property for their next stay, most cannot afford such a luxury. Robotic technology can supplement the experience though and make it easier to appease jittery guests worried about cleanliness.
“By no means does the use of technology and germ-killing robots (which require additional staff to operate and clean rooms) change the foundation of hospitality which is to provide engaging and exceptional service,” said Natalie Wiseman, director of sales and marketing for The Westin Houston Medical Center, whose hotel uses robots to clean guest rooms. “This is another level we are offering so everyone feels confident and safe while staying or working with us.”
Hotel brands and airports are taking advantage of new technology that hospitals have long used as they work to spur new confidence in safe, cautious travel. Office buildings and schools will look to employ them, too, as the world awaits a successful vaccine. New York City’s subway system and some airlines are also considering using them in the near-term future.
Robots join the payroll
Both Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills and The Beverly Hilton are deploying the Xenex LightStrike Robots in their properties to assist with upgraded cleaning protocols. As part of the Hilton CleanStay with Lysol protection standards at the hotels, these robots will use ultraviolet (UV) light to zap germs once a housekeeper has completed the standard cleaning process of each room. These robots are already in use in hundreds of hospitals including the Mayo Clinic.
The machines are not completely autonomous and require the use of Occupational Safety and Health Administration-approved personal protective equipment.
It takes eight to ten minutes for the robot to sanitize the room, and once its job is done, a housekeeper at either hotel will place a CleanStay Lysol protection seal on the door to indicate it is ready for the next guest. The robots will do double duty as they also clean public restrooms, meeting rooms, elevators, and staff areas. In addition to hotel spaces, they will sanitize any guest luggage that enters the hotel.
Guests at The Westin Houston Medical Center will see a new member of the housekeeping team, too. It is employing the same LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robot to destroy viruses, bacteria, and fungi using intense pulsed xenon UV light. Each robot visit takes only a few minutes to fully sanitize the room. No tip required, either.
According to a hotel news release, the robots can deliver up to 4,300x more germicidal UV pathogen killing intensity than a traditional UV-c mercury vapor.
The Crowne Plaza White Plains-Downtown in New York is also using similar technology to sanitize its rooms. The hotel has been host to numerous first responders from nearby hospitals during the past few months.
Airports turn to robots, too
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is using an autonomous floor scrubbing robot, dubbed Avidbots Neo, to supplement existing maintenance and support staff in sanitizing the terminal. It uses a mix of 3-D sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence to roam the building as it scours and cleans without running into obstacles.
Pittsburgh International Airport is disinfecting terminal spaces with autonomous robots, too. Its Nilfisk Liberty SC50 Autonomous Scrubber/Dryer uses water pressure and chemical disinfectant to clean the floor. It follows that with a stream of UV light to sanitize the surface as it drives away.
Pittsburgh Airport’s floor-cleaning machines are nothing new; they were already in use before the pandemic. But, their newly added UV functionality is a step in the right direction to show fliers that airports are serious about cleanliness as they work to rebuild passenger numbers.