Robots Look to Enter Travel Industry and Consumers are Mostly Okay With It

People expect robots to play a big part in their lives by 2020.

A survey of thousands of travellers across Canada and other countries suggests three-quarters believe these robots will make their lives better and two-trhids being comfortable with robots in the travel industry.

The research, conducted by media commerce company Travelzoo, suggests that the main advantages of robots are related to general efficiency, data retention and recall.

“Right now is a very exciting moment in the history of the travel industry; groundbreaking technology is revolutionizing what is possible from the perspective of customer service, entertainment and personalization,” says Richard Singer, Travelzoo’s European President. “Robots and artificial intelligence are making their debut on the tourism stage, and our research into global acceptance of robots working in the travel industry is largely positive.

More than three-quarters of respondents think that robots would be better than humans at handling data (81%) and dealing with different languages (79%), while 76% believe robots have better memories. 81% of respondents selected their untiring energy as an advantage.

“While the advent of technology such as robot butlers and bartenders is hugely exciting, it’s also very clear from our research that consumers see the combination of robots and humans working in tandem in customer-facing roles as the ideal solution,” Singer said. “Consumers still want humans in the picture, as otherwise there is a genuine fear that cultural nuances, humour and irony will be missed and the holiday experience could become too impersonal. If we don’t respect the desire for the human touch, we risk ‘robophobia’ setting in, when in fact technology can significantly improve the holiday experience when used appropriately.”