Robot Dinosaurs Are Hotel Receptionists
Urayasu, Tokyo’s Henn na Hotel has what is quite possibly the most unique front desk staff in the world. Upon arrival, the lobby is quiet, almost too quiet. But as soon as customers reach the reception area, and the motion sensors are triggered, they’re greeted with a loud “Welcome” from robot dinosaurs.
As unusual as it sounds, this is an appropriate experience, especially considering that Henn na means “weird.” The prehistoric, mechanized bellhops perform check in duties through a tablet system that also offers guests a choice in what language they want the multilingual staff to use. Beyond the spectacle, the hotel also makes sure the practical elements are secure.
While the management has attempted to make the interaction as enjoyable as possible, they recognize that it’s not always going to be welcomed. The gesticulating, speaking robots occasionally bother some guests who, understandably, prefer to be greeted by actual people.
The hotel manager, Yukio Nagai, told the AFP, “We haven’t quite figured out when exactly the guests want to be served by people, and when it’s okay to be served by robots.” On the flip side, others love the mechanical dinosaurs, in particular, families with young kids. And the Jurassic Park lookalikes aren’t the only robots staffed at the hotel…
Henn na holds the Guinness World Record for being the first hotel with robots on its staff, and they have eight locations that all offer the experience. Some robots even serve other functions, like cleaning. Not all of the locations have dinosaurs though, opting for more humanoid robots instead. But there are people on the premises performing other duties, as well as being available just in case any technical issues arise.