HOME
ABOUT US
ABOUT YUNJI
QUALIFICATIONS & AWARDS
CORPORATE CULTURE
Yunji Milestones
PRODUCT CENTER
Run
Sail
General Intelligent Service Platform
PROFESSIONAL SOLUTIONS
HOTEL DIGITAL OPERATION SYSTEM
AI BUILDING OPERATION SOLUTIONS
MEDIA CENTER
CONTACT US
> MEDIA CENTER
Share

Leiphone: Hotels Seek Adjustments, Yunji Robot Turns the Tide

2021-02-26

  In 2019, the hotel industry canceled the pre-preparation of six kinds of guest room necessities, boosting the need for hotel delivery robots. This time, the concept of “contactless service” brought by the epidemic and the mass deployment of hotel robots have made the hotel industry to reexamine and reevaluate robots.

  According to industry analysts, in 2020, the hotel delivery robot industry would witness a 2-3 times of growth in volume.

  The sudden epidemic has reshaped the hotel industry completely. However, it posed an opportunity for service robots to enter the hotel industry at the same time.

  Article source: Leiphone.com

  Author: Wang Jinwang

  Hotels seek adjustments under the epidemic, Yunji robot turns the tide.

  Wang Jinwang

  “Stay at home.”

  This has become very first thing we heard in 2020. And this is exactly what stopped the spread of COVID-19.

  The epidemic forced everyone "stranded" at home, regardless of social status or wealth, and also crippled the catering industry, the hospitality industry, and even the whole culture and tourism industry for the revenue loss during the Chinese New Year, the most important festival ever in China.

  On one hand, the hotel industry seeks adjustments under the backdrop of the epidemic; on the other hand, the value of service robots is gradually emerging in the fight against it.

  In 2019, the hotel industry canceled the pre-preparation of six guest room necessities (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, slippers, comb) and thus boosted the need for hotel delivery robots. This time, the concept of “contactless service” brought by the epidemic and the mass deployment of hotel robots have enabled the hotel industry to reexamine and reevaluate robots. According to industry analysts, in 2020, the hotel delivery robot industry is going to witness a 2-3 times of growth in volume.

  The sudden epidemic has reshaped the hotel industry completely, yet it posed an opportunity for service robots to enter the hotel industry.

  1. Imminent industry reconstruction

  Soon after the 2020 Chinese New Year, people were ready to go back to work, enterprise managers in transportation, real estate, manufacturing, etc. found themselves to be in a “self-rescue battle”, which, for the hospitality industry, had already faced.

  On January 23, the eve of Chinese New Year, Wuhan was put on lockdown.

  Although there had been a lot of news about the epidemic on the Internet and many journalists had rushed to Wuhan to report the actual situation, few people could have predicted the degree.

  Since H Hotel had branches in Wuhan, they got the news early on. Xia Zifan, Vice President of H Hotel, Communist Party member and seasoned “veteran” in 2003’s SARS epidemic, sensed that this epidemic of 2019 must be definitely special.

  It was the start of the impact, but also the commencement of hotels’ “self-rescue”.

  Although early plans were made to address the situation, the epidemic’s impact to H Hotel, and even the whole hospitality industry has been immeasurable.

  According to the China Hotel Association’s survey, the epidemic had induced operating losses of 1.23 billion yuan to 5,109 hotels in the seven days of the Chinese New Year holiday, about RMB 401,600 per hotel.

  In such a market environment, the hotel industry was forced into a sudden restructure.

  On February 2, Ji Qi, founder, chairman and CEO of Huazhu Group, sent an email to all staff, in which made arrangements for hotel operation in the next 2-3 month. Hence, leading enterprises in the hospitality industry were forced to conduct "self-rescue".

  “The hotel industry fits the proportion of 7-2-1 (cost: 70% human labor, 20% participation cost, 10% office expenses), so the nature is asset-light. Many experts only focused on cash flow control and rent exemption, but failed to consider the objective reason of employee wages. Therefore, it has been difficult for hotels to get by. Even big hotel groups couldn't last for more than three months, and some can’t even do three months.” Xia told Leiphone.

  During the epidemic, during the hotel industry’s collective “self-rescue”, the concept of “contactless service” and the mass deployment of hotel robots have made hoteliers to reexamine and reevaluate robots.

  2. The increasingly prominent issue: delivery in hotels

  COVID-19 has completely transformed the hotel industry’s view on robots.

  At present, Yunji's delivery robots are most in number in the hotel industry. However, two years ago, while Leiphone talked about delivery robot’s benefit with practitioners in the robot industry and the hotel industry, it was more about good ratings, brand, application, which were a bit like “fancy stunts”.

  An insider said: “Back then, it was quite good if a company can sell 100 robots in a year.”

  Although the application of delivery robots in hotel scenes has been around for two to three years, it has been tepid. Many applications of delivery robots are still in the trial operation stage until 2019.

  According the Shanghai Household Refuse Management Regulations issued by Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism, which officially came into force on July 1, 2019: Shanghai hotels shall no longer pre-prepare disposable daily necessities in guest rooms, including toothbrush, comb, bath brush, razor, nail clipper, shoe brush.

  This regulation, together with garbage classification, had become a landmark event of environmental protection policies. However, it had also brought troubles to the hotel industry (especially for middle and high-end hotels) as a whole. Leiphone had been told that canceling the pre-preparation of room necessities had evidently increased the workload on delivery, some hotels even suffered from increasing complaints.

  

  Xia told Leiphone that

  In principle, many hotels do not have a special post for delivery. As a result, generally delivery tasks are completed by the hotel staff on duty; for high-end hotels, food delivery is completed by cafeteria waiters, other delivery works are completed by porters. H hotels have a housekeeper post in charge of delivery works. .

  Delivery robots can deal with a number of issues in delivery works. Especially at night, guests can scan the QR code and have the robot pick up the items and drop off to their rooms. This process does not involve human interaction, so human errors can be avoided.

  Coupled with robot manufacturers' promotion in the previous two or three years, the introduction and trial operation of robots in some hotels and the trending concept of smart hotels, hotel delivery robot industry has welcomed the first wave of mass production in 2019.

  In 2019, the annual sales of delivery robots exceeded 1,000, going beyond the cumulative number of the previous three years.

  The year 2019 has witnessed the fastest development in hotel robots, with July being an obvious turning point, especially in Shanghai. The number of hotel robots in Shanghai rose from about 100 in July to 200 in December, making it the city the hotel robots champion in the world.

  Shanghai is home to headquarters of many hotel groups. This, to a large extend, has increased the information on robot application for the core decision makers in the hotel industry.

  The earliest impression of robots might be more of a label that users can identify easily, such as the label of smart hotel or label intelligent equipment. As robots are becoming increasingly common, people have gradually realized that robots can help us with human resource, cost-effectiveness and OTA ratings, and even producing more income.

  In December 2019, Ji Qi, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Huazhu Group said in Huazhu International Conference that, one delivery robot can replace 75%employee(s) for hotels on average.

  

  This was the first time that the hotel industry had publicly recognized the practical benefits of Yunji robot.

  In retrospect, the trend of hotel robots in 2019 was more than rational with consumption upgrading and the trending concept of smart hotels, along with encouraging policies. When service robot manufacturers began to frequently contact the hotel industry for the sake of obtaining market dividends, and outsider companies sought for a share of pie, no one expected that the epidemic would make the concept of "contactless service" even more necessary.

  In addition, no one expected that delivery robots, which had just experienced the first mass production period, would become the main force of "contactless services" in this epidemic.

  Yunji Technology, a service provider of hotel delivery robots, conducted a market research of hotel customers some time ago. The data showed that more than 40% of consumers began to focus more on the value of robot's "contactless service". This is something that has never happened before.

  In fact, "contactless service" was only a catalyst that changed the relation of supply and demand. However, the increasing perception and the continuous attention of consumers had been changing the whole market subtly.

  3. Delivery robot turning the tide, possibly seeing 2-3 times increase this year

  Before the outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic, sales representatives needed to visit hotels to promote and sell robots. But everything has been changed now.

  Evidently, the epidemic had not only made some hotel managers reexamine the role of robots, and expanded the market for robots, but also reversed the process of market entry, which has significantly changed the fate for the whole service robot industry.

  Yunji staff told Leiphone that there have been two obvious changes in the market since this year:

  First, the demand to purchase or rent robots no longer came from independent hotels, but hotel groups. Previously, only hotels interested in smart equipment would have such demand. However, in contrast, an increasing number of hotel groups are in great demand of robots. For all the recent cooperation deals, it was the clients that approached us.

  Second, the focus on robots has shifted from the efficiency improvement of hotels to the values brought to consumers. Previously, hotels paid more attention to the improvement of ratings, efficiency and the reduction in cost, which were mostly the benefits for hotel operation. At present, they are more interested in the values to consumers. Especially during the epidemic, guests would feel more assured using "contactless service" after hotel check-in.


  After the epidemic, will the hotel delivery robot industry witness a second turning point?

  Leiphone who communicated with a number of practitioners in hotel industry and delivery robot industry learned that, after the triumph over the COVID-19 in 2020, hotel delivery robot, or even the whole delivery robot market will usher in a second turning point in mass production. Analysts conservatively estimated that this year's annual sales volume of hotel delivery robot will increase 2-3 times compared with last year.

  The epidemic drove decision makes in the hotel industry reexamine robots, and pushed robot manufacturers forward to gain a deeper understanding of hotel scenes and demands.

  4. Delivery robot’s deployment under the epidemic: cloud mapping, contact free

  Robots have been proved useful in the battle against the COVID-19 epidemic. Robot delivery of supplies and food are now that common in hospitals, quarantined zones and hotels. The practical application of delivery robots in these scenes is largely associated with the explorations and technological iterations in actual scenes of restaurants and hotels such as Haidilao, Xiabu Xiabu, New Century and H hotel in the past four years.

  So far, Yunji's "Run" has gone through three major iterations and numerous small upgrades. The Yunji's "Run" task completion rate in hotel scenes has increased from the 97% to 99.5%.

  Since the launch of the first generation of "Run" in 2016, it has undergone three major iterations, and product stability has been greatly improved.

  The first commercial robot "Run" had a task completion rate of 97%. And now it has reached 99.5%, or even 99.8%. The success rate rarely dropped under 99%.

  In fact, the industry has a basic threshold of 95% success rate for task completion. The amount of human intervention would bring too much unnecessary trouble for the staff if the basic threshold is less than 95%, and the use of robot will gradually decline. Conversely, if it is higher than 95%, hotels will use robots more frequently.

  Yunji robot's task completion rate is well above 95%. According to the background data, it has never been lower than 99.5% in the recent 4-5 months. In addition, Yunji robots are averagely used 50-60 times per day, mostly around 100 times, and sometimes reaching up to 130-140 times in peak hours.

  Most hotels collaborate with Yunji by renting the robots. If the actual usage is not up to expectations, hotels can terminate the contract. So far, the termination rate is less than 1%. Therefore, most hotels approve the value of Yunji robots.

  Now, the deployment process of delivery robots is very convenient for hotel proprietors as well.

  Although delivery robots are more frequently used in hotels with easier deployment process, Yunji still faces some new challenges in robot deployment and application during this epidemic.

  For robot positioning and mapping on each floor, Yunji has been trying to achieve remote operation and deployment. Therefore, placing a charging-hub in the hotel in advance can help robots complete independent scanning and mapping.

  Yunji has also upgraded robot applications. Now hotel staff and guests can operate the robot for all functions by scanning the QR code. For example, guests only need a smartphone to control compartment opening and closing in item pick-up to operate.

  In addition, Yunji robot is equipped with disinfection equipment. During delivering errands, it can also disinfect areas such as elevator, and public space, etc.

  Yunji specially upgraded contactless elevator service and food delivery service (click to view). Guests can scan a QR code to control elevators and order food and have it delivered to guests’ room. The contactless service of Yunji guarantees safe stay for hotel guests, and improve non-room income for hotels.

  In actual usage, hotels have been demanding more from robots. Xia mentioned that:

  “I think the compartment needs improvement in terms of food delivery. Different from open spaces like restaurants where open compartment is acceptable, if we deliver food to different floors in a hotel, guests would want a closed compartment to store their food.”

  With robots extensively used in hotel scenes, the improvement will be a long-standing topic. But, compared to such improvement, hotels tend to pay ,ore attention to work resumption.

  5. Hotels seeking changes provides new opportunities for robots

  As epidemic sustains, hotels now face another dilemma of work resumption after experiencing great losses in the golden travel season.

  During this backdrop, for the hotel industry with no heavy assets or production, the future direction is critical and vital apart from macro policy adjustment plans.

  As a robot manufacturer with 70% business focusing on hotels, Yunji has already attempted to build a robot waiter system through "service robot + online shop + unmanned vending machine" in hotels.

  The supply chain of the online shop and vending machines are constructed by Yunji itself. Yunji will give corresponding commission to hotels for its sales to address guest needs and bringing more income for hotels.

  In actual usage, hotels have been demanding more from robots. Xia mentioned that:

  “I think the compartment needs improvement in terms of food delivery. Different from open spaces like restaurants where open compartment is acceptable, if we deliver food to different floors in a hotel, guests would want a closed compartment to store their food.”

  With robots extensively used in hotel scenes, the improvement will be a long-standing topic. But, compared to such improvement, hotels tend to pay ,ore attention to work resumption.

  5. Hotels seeking changes provides new opportunities for robots

  As epidemic sustains, hotels now face another dilemma of work resumption after experiencing great losses in the golden travel season.

  During this backdrop, for the hotel industry with no heavy assets or production, the future direction is critical and vital apart from macro policy adjustment plans.

  As a robot manufacturer with 70% business focusing on hotels, Yunji has already attempted to build a robot waiter system through "service robot + online shop + unmanned vending machine" in hotels.

  The supply chain of the online shop and vending machines are constructed by Yunji itself. Yunji will give corresponding commission to hotels for its sales to address guest needs and bringing more income for hotels.

© 2021 Copyright by Yunji Technology All rights reserved Privacy Policy