Date: 20-06-2018
Will AI take over housekeeping services? Tatjana Ahmed, Housekeeping Manager, Grand Hyatt Dubai, takes a look at the pros and cons.
We all know that the hospitality industry is amongst the world’s fasted growing industries. But one should be aware that hospitality does not only consist of the lodging industries. Hotels come with so many other features such as restaurants, fitness centers, entertainment, and private clubs and of course event management along with other bits and pieces that fall under the umbrella of hospitality.
There is a vast difference between today’s hospitality industry and what the same industry stood for 20 years ago. Being able to offer such a broad spectrum of services to our customers as we do these days and staying consistent in our services, anticipating guest’s future needs and wants, requires the aid of numerous technologies. These technologies simplify the lives of our consumers as they manage their preferences online without the need to use a third party travel agent. The list of what new technologies can do for the travel industry to thrive is unlimited now. So what is next?

AI & Housekeeping

Artificial Intelligence has already slipped into many industries, and the hospitality industry will not be spared either. In particular, I’m looking at the effects of AI on the housekeeping department. We are constantly seeking to simplify working processes, or at least find a way to speed things up in order to increase productivity. Many cleaning machines have revolutionized the work of housekeepers, and these days, robotic mini vacuum discs and robot mops are already available for domestic use. In this regard then, what could be the next best innovation?

Challenges are aplenty when it comes to guest room cleaning - from reducing turnaround time of guest rooms to combatting skilled labor shortages. Many will agree that skilled labor is one of the main challenges when it comes to the hospitality industry, particularly in the housekeeping department.

The reasons for the shortages in manning are multifold - long working hours, strenuous physical work, pay and last but not least the expectations of the customers, which leave little or no room for error. An overlooked stain on a curtain or a small hair in the bath tub can prove fatal for us, as a mere picture of the unsightly matter quickly pops up on social media. And the fear of being shamed for having overlooked a little something can put tremendous pressure on a department. The goal is to score 100% in all areas of the guest room and guest facilities of a hotel. Many housekeepers wish their teams had the eyes of an eagle, the agility of a weasel and the endurance of a horse to ensure that all is immaculate in no time. Maybe AI will be the answer to this? Performing the job of a housekeeping attendant in lesser time and perfect in all aspects?

It is just a matter of time when housekeeping will introduce AI into the the guest room in the form of a cleaning robot. Should we be worried for our job? AI will be part of the future work force and only able to do the job we program them to do. So my guess is that the professionals in the cleaning and hospitality industry will soon sit with data engineers and scientists in order to program the robot, which will do the perfect job.