Hotel's Latest High-Tech Employee Is 'Botlr,' a Robot Butler

PHOTO: A.L.O. the robotic butler will debut at the Aloft Cupertino on Aug. 20, 2014.
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The next time you check into an Aloft hotel and order room service, don't be surprised if it's delivered by a robot.

The hotel chain, part of the Starwood brand and with more than 100 properties worldwide, introduced its newest "employee" Tuesday. A.L.O. is “dressed” in a custom shrink-wrapped, vinyl-collared uniform and name tag. The best part? A.L.O. works for tweets, not tips.

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The robot is the brand's first "Botlr," or robotic butler, and the Aloft claims it's "the first major hotel brand to hire a robot for both front- and back-of-house duties." The Botlr will be on call to assist the Aloft employees in delivering amenities to guest rooms or help the front desk in busy times. The Botlr, the hotel said, will free up employee time while enhancing tech offerings.

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Here's an example: A guest calls the front desk for an item (a newspaper, a towel, a can of soda, etc.) and an Aloft associate places it inside Botlr and programs the room number. Botlr then navigates the hotel lobby, elevator banks, and makes its way to the guest’s room. Botlr places a call to the room as soon as it arrives outside. The guest opens his or her door, follows the prompts from Botlr’s touch screen interface, takes the item and the transaction is complete.

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Brian McGuinness, Global Brand Leader, Starwood’s Specialty Select Brands, said A.L.O. "has the work ethic of Wall-E, the humor of Rosie from 'The Jetsons' and reminds me of my favorite childhood robot, R2-D2."

A.L.O. "officially reports for duty" on Aug. 20 at Aloft Cupertino, in California, with several new Botlrs to join in the upcoming months. #MeetBotlr will document guest feedback and experiences with the robot.

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