The Henn na chain of hotels in Japan, famed for its robot staff, will cull almost half the bots as they cause more work for human staff.
The first Henn na hotel opened in 2015 in the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Nagasaki, in southwestern Japan. Guests were met by receptionists in the form of dinosaurs and humanoid figures. They would be instructed to check in via a touch panel screen. Then an automated trolley would take their luggage to their rooms.
Guinness World Records recognized the building as the world’s first robot-staffed hotel and plans were revealed to open even more in 2017.
However, following complaints from staff and customers, over half of the robots will now be removed. The Wall Street Journal reported that the robots were creating work rather than reducing it.
One staff member was quotes in the WSJ, saying: “it’s easier now that we’re not being frequently called by guests to help with problems with the robots.”
Guests reported that the robots, which included dinosaur and humanoid receptionists, were often broken down.
A robot assistant called ‘Churi’ will be removed from every room after it failed to answer guest enquires. One guest even reported a robot in his room was triggered by his snoring, and kept waking him up.
Churi replaced telephones in the rooms, leaving guests with no one to contact when the bot was failing.
Hideo Sawada, president of H.I.S., said: “She got a bad reputation.”
HIS which started out as a travel business in 1980, is now shifting its focus to the more profitable hotel business as competition hots up in the hotel and flight-booking sector.
The hotel side of HIS saw sales of 8.2 billion yen ($74 million) for the year ending October 2017, up 24 percent on the year. Its operating profit rose 38 percent to 764 million yen.