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Meet the Hotel Robot Butler That’s Revolutionizing Room Service

Ever call down to the hotel front desk for a snack, towel, or that dental floss you forgot, and answer the door to find a three-foot-tall, whirring robot butler delivering it? It’s becoming increasingly likely that you might.

The Hotel Robot Butler Gaining Steam

Tech-savvy Boston recently got its first hotel room service robot: Yotel’s YO2D2, which has taken the place of the tech-focused chain’s human employees when it comes to running room deliveries. The motorized helper isn’t the first of its kind though—and far from the last. Hotel chains like Aloft and Westin have also employed robot butlers over the past few years, and the trend is popular in Europe and Asia as well. Yotel’s New York property also features a luggage-handling robot.

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YO2D2 is the same model as the robot butlers popping up at those other hotels, built by San Jose-based Savioke. The tech company that invented the robot butler calls it a Relay Robot, but Yotel has evidently decided to get a little more creative with naming its newest resident.

How a Hotel Robot Butler Works

Yotel guests can place an order for whatever they need from the tech-focused hotel through its front desk, dubbed Mission Control. The items are given to YO2D2, which summons itself an elevator to the room, and the hotel room phone will ring once it arrives. Answer the door and follow the prompts on the robot butler’s touch screen to collect your items, rate your experience, and send YO2D2 on its way.

Even if you forgo room service for your stay, you might find yourself sharing an elevator with the glowing robot butler, or spot it in the hotel lounge “mingling”—YO2D2 senses humans to avoid collisions, and boops and shimmies after interacting with a guest.

Welcome to the future, and don’t let the robot strolling the halls spook you.

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Associate Editor Shannon McMahon writes about all things travel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

By Shannon McMahon

Editor Shannon McMahon is always planning her next trip and often writing in her travel journal. Follow her on Twitter @shanmcmahon_ and on Instagram @shanmcmahon.

Shannon joined SmarterTravel in 2015. A former news reporter, she's lived in the south of Spain, spotted elephants in Sri Lanka, gone spelunking in the Caribbean, hiked Jordan's Petra Basin, interviewed Sao Paulo's Michelin-Star chefs, and explored China via bullet train. Travel trends, news oddities, and her visits to up-and-coming destinations are some of her favorite things to write about.

Her stories have also appeared online on USA Today, The Sun, Huffington Post, Business Insider, blog.TripAdvisor.com, Boston.com, and more. Her educational background is in journalism, art history, gender studies, Spanish, and film. She's been quoted as an expert travel source by CNBC, People.com, MarketWatch, The Washington Post, USA Today, and more.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Plenty of extra thick hair elastics. They tame my frizzy curls and come in handy in a surprising number of packing and hotel dilemmas."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Climbing (yes, climbing, it's steep!) the Great Wall of China before it's gone."

Travel Motto: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain

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Email Shannon at smcmahon@smartertravel.com.

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