When the butler is a robot, do we still need to tip?

By Brian McGuinness , SVP Specialty Select Brands at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide | 14 Jan 15

In 2014, Starwood’s Aloft Hotels introduced a novelty in their property in Cupertino, California: a robotic butler. Is “A.L.O.” (as it was dubbed) the wave of the future? In the Hotel Yearbook 2015 - Special Edition: Technology, which appeared last fall, Brian McGuinness, in charge of the company’s Specialty Select brands which includes Aloft, shared with us the story of how the company developed and launched this new concept, the “Botlr”. As it was obviously a milestone worth remembering – the first time in history that a member of a hotel staff was not a carbon-based life form! – we decided to reprint the story here.

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About Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 1,200 properties in some 100 countries and over 180,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, element® and the recently introduced Tribute Portfolio™. The Company boasts one of the industry"s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG®), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood recently announced plans to spin off its Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc. business, a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands, into a standalone public company by the end of 2015.
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