Henn-na Hotel lays off half of robot staff

Occurred: January 2019

Japan’s Henn-na Hotel decommissioned half of its 243 robot employees after they malfunctioned, failed to do their jobs, and proved irritating, drawing complaints from customers.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the velociraptor check-in robots were unable to handle foreign guests or photocopy passports. 

In addition, the concierge robot was unable to answer questions about flight schedules and tourist attractions, robot luggage carriers could only reach about a quarter of the rooms, failed in rain or snow, and would get stuck trying to pass each other in corridors. 

Henn-na ('weird') Hotel had heavily hyped the robots upon their introduction in 2015. 

But they appear quickly to have outlived their usefulness and value, and have in many instances been replaced with humans.

Operator: H.I.S. Hotel Group
Developer: MJI Robotics
Country: Japan
Sector: Travel/hospitality
Purpose: Improve customer service
Technology: Robotics
Issue: Appropriateness/need; Effectiveness/value
Transparency: Marketing

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: March 2023