Arabian Travel Market | May 17, 2021
The 28th edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the region's largest travel and tourism showcase, returned to Dubai on May 16 to focus on Tourism for a Brighter Future during the opening session at ATM's Global Stage.
With the year 2021 ushering in a new era for travel and tourism, leading industry leaders from around the world kicked off the dialogue on the ATM Global Stage by providing insight into the factors behind the sector's rapid recovery. Vaccinations, market segmentation and technological innovations, travel corridors, marketing, and product diversification have all been identified as key factors of substantial recovery by 2023.
During the Tourism Beyond Covid Recovery session on the ATM Global Stage, tourism ministers and key industry stakeholders from the Gulf and Southern Europe convened to discuss the vast opportunities for travel, tourism, and hospitality presented by the potential return of mass leisure tourism, medical and educational travel, business events, and, beyond that, cross-cultural exchange.
This was followed by the ATM China Tourism Forum, which highlighted China's continued significance as a major source market for many MENA destinations, as well as the imminent return of inbound tourism from China as destinations such as Dubai approach "Covid-19 safe" status due to the success of their domestic vaccination drives.
Meanwhile, at the ATM Travel Forward theatre, delegates heard from world-class technology leaders who shared industry-leading perspectives about the role of technology in the future of travel.
ATM 2021 will host 67 conference sessions with over 145 local, regional, and international speakers throughout the four-day event. Attendees on the Global Stage will also be able to attend the hotel industry forum, the ATM Saudi Arabia Tourism Summit: Transformation through tourism, an International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC), an aviation panel, and a special session on lessons learned contributing to the recovery and ongoing resilience in global travel.
ATM 2021, inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, CEO and Founder of Emirates Group, and Chairman of Dubai World, will take place from May 17 to 19.
Cobalt Robotics , Bear Robotics | August 24, 2021
The pandemic upended many sectors with mass layoffs at the beginning of COVID-19 and ended with record labor shortages. The hospitality sector in particular was deeply hit with massive unemployment gaps that ran well above the national unemployment rate during the pandemic. While other industries have started on the road to recovery, the hospitality industry is still 2.8 million jobs shy of where it was in February 2020.
With more than 60% of Americans willing to travel again, 55% of U.S. companies planning to resume business travel within the next three months and more than a third of current hospitality workers planning to exit the industry, the hotel industry is in a bind.
Long-term labor solutions in the area are needed to meet the rising demand for travel and seismic shifts in the hospitality workforce. This is where 3D camera-equipped robots can play a role. Robots are some of the most impactful forms of hospitality technology hoteliers can invest in to maintain efficiency, serve guests and aid understaffed operations.
Solving staffing shortages
From retail stores to the hospitality realm, customer-facing industries are already solving staffing shortages and improving operations through robots equipped with 3D imaging sensors. For example, restaurants have added self-navigating robots for food delivery and table bussing while grocery chains have discovered that robots can assist in cleaning, providing stock management alerts and checkout duties.
These tasks are typically limited in their customer-facing duties but are repetitive and time-consuming activities that are easily programmed into digital sidekicks. This makes robots an ideal solution to the staffing shortages many hotel properties are experiencing. Properties of all sizes are starting to realize the practical uses for service robots - or “co-bots,” which work alongside humans to extend and improve performance, taking the burden off human workers so they can handle more demanding responsibilities.
A popular function behind the implementation of 3D camera-embedded robots is the ability to increase self-service functionality, increase convenience and improve customer experiences for guests. Mobile robots can perform navigation tasks that include guiding guests to their rooms and delivering commonly requested room service items such as pillows, blankets, towels and toiletries. They can even operate as roving security guards throughout the property.
3D facial authorization, like the technology used to unlock your smartphone, can be employed to recognize guests and address them by name, adding a sense of personalization and high-class service. Meanwhile, guests can say goodbye to fumbling for key cards, and hotel staff no longer have to worry about reprinting numerous key cards.
Housekeeping and sanitization may be the most demanded and high-ROI use of 3D robots. Robots can manage in-room and common area cleaning tasks such as vacuuming and sanitation, while specially equipped units can completely disinfect high-touch areas and items. Equipped with a UV light and disinfectant sprays, these popular cleaning companions can eliminate germs off the surface of elevator buttons, doorknobs and TV remotes in just seconds.
Safety and efficiency of 3D tech
3D cameras are the key to robots handling tasks alongside human workers. 3D camera technology enables mobile robots to identify and avoid obstacles and people with extreme accuracy. The camera technology can accurately perceive depth to navigate highly populated space: From high foot traffic in hallways to luggage and bags stacked in lobbies, 3D robots can navigate through it all. Using their depth-sensing capabilities, they can also spot anomalies like an open hallway door or atypical presence of individuals in a given space.
When combined with SLAM (Simultaneous Location and Mapping), the technology that scans and creates a digital map of the space, self-propelled 3D service bots can deliver food, drinks and other amenities anywhere within the hotel property. No matter the obstacle, SLAM-supported 3D can seamlessly navigate and deliver guests what they need.
Cobalt Robotics and Bear Robotics are two companies utilizing 3D camera technology in the hospitality robotics sector. Cobalt Robotics, a U.S.-based company, develops 3D camera-equipped robots available for security, facilities management and concierge services. Bear Robotics offers robots specializing in food service deployments. The cost of utilizing robot workers in these instances is often comparable or less than an hourly worker. Combine these savings with the elimination of sick days, injuries or other disruptions and hotel managers are left with a more cost-effective way to handle routine tasks.
Another vital form of ROI in employing 3D robots in hotels is that they can collect data on guest preferences, facility status and upkeep, security and more. This information is critical in helping hotels run more efficiently and with a greater focus on customer satisfaction.
The future of hotels
The pandemic has created vast uncertainty for the hospitality industry. It remains to be seen how guest bookings and behaviors, hospitality economics or competitive activity will change for the long-haul post-pandemic.
What is certain, however, is that labor will be forever impacted - and that technology, specifically reliable and multifunctional robots, will be part of the future of hotels.
Bahamas Tribune | August 21, 2020
Expect Bahamas Ministry of Tourism officials to return to promoting the destination in October even as the destination adjusts policies to curb COVID-19 spikes that have led to lockdowns and hotel closings.
Government officials are planning for an October “phase one” reopening between October and early November, said Travis Robinson, tourism parliamentary secretary, in a Bahamas Tribune report, after which officials will “go back out and infiltrate the market with the tourism brand of The Bahamas,” Robinson said.