Hotel with Robot Staff Soon to Open in Japan

April 9, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. receptionist /rɪˈsɛp ʃə nɪst/ (n.) – an employee tasked to assist people who visit or call a company
Example: The receptionist will welcome you to the building.

2. check in /ˈtʃɛkˌɪn/ (v.) – to register and get a room in a hotel
Example: We checked in at the nearest hotel from the airport.

3. peak season /pik ˈsi zən/ (n.) – the time when the demand for something is at its highest
ExamplePeak seasons are usually during holidays when many people are on vacation.

4. bid /bɪd/ (v.) – to offer a price when buying something
Example: Three customers will bid for the Italian painting in the auction.

5. workforce /wɜrkfɔrs/ (n.) – refers to the working population
Example: The government expects more women to enter the country’s workforce.


Read the text below.
The first-ever hotel run by robotic staff will soon open in Japan.

The Henn-na Hotel, which translates as Strange Hotel, will be built inside the theme park Huis Ten Bosch [hays ten bosh] in Nagasaki. Set to open in July 2015, the two-story hotel will have 72 rooms. In 2016, 72 additional rooms will open.

Three female actroids or human-like robots will work as the hotel’s receptionists. They can converse in English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. These actroids will help guests check in and even escort customers to their rooms.  The hotel will also have service robots to handle tasks like cleaning rooms and corridors.

Hideo Sawada, president of Henn-na Hotel, plans to have robots run 90% of the hotel’s operation. Other high-technology features of the hotel include facial-recognition system in guestroom doors and a radiation panel that automatically adjusts room temperature.

During peak seasons, rooms may have limited availability. Instead of booking a room through reservations, guests will have to place a bid. The highest bidder will be able to book the room. The price for a single room and a triple room may reach $60 and $153, respectively. Superior and deluxe rooms have higher prices.

The company’s plan to use robots as staff is in line with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s call for robot revolution. The decision to utilize robots is a move to sustain the country’s decreasing work force and to promote technological innovations.

Another company that uses a robot employee is Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. The robot, called Nao, is designed to analyze human emotions through facial expression and voice tone. It currently works as a bank teller in one of the bank’s branches.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think the actroids will perform better than human receptionists? Kindly explain.
·         Would you want to check in at the Henn-na Hotel? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What are the advantages of having robots as employees? Kindly discuss.
·         In what business do you think using robotic staff is most effective? Why do you say so?

April 9, 2015