At the Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites in San Marcos, a new, automated robot, affectionately named Hubbert by the staff, is causing excitement and a bit of controversy.
Hubbert can deliver towels, snacks, drinks and bathing products right to any door in the hotel.
The robot uses geomapping and sensors around the hotel to roll from the front desk to the elevator, up to the floor and room of the requesting guest. A courtesy call is given to the guest to come to the door. The robot then opens its case so guests can take what they need.
When Hubbert is done, it rolls back into a charging station at the front desk.
"The guests love it," said Bob Rauch, owner of the Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites in San Marcos and CEO of RAR Hospitality. "It provides immediate customer service and other employees or team members can be doing something more productive."
But some are saying it could cost minimum wage workers their jobs.
"You’re taking away the human touch and the hospitality that’s very important," said Juan Carlos Hernandez of the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Hernandez added it is crucial for employers looking at new technologies to teach in-house employees skills that can help them keep their jobs.
In this case, Hernandez recommends the staff of the Fairfield Inn be taught how to service the robot when it breaks down.