Business Planning for Innovation in Hospitality and Tourism
Word count: 880
Title: The LightStrike Germ-Zapping robot for the Mercure in Oxford, UK
The LightStrike robot will target: elderly citizens, pregnant women and those with health conditions, this group represent altogether 28,731,213 people which is 43% of England’s total population “66.79 million” (Park, 2020). Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, Thesepeople are more reluctant to travel because of the constant threat of getting and spreading the virus to other individuals, thus changing consumer behavior(Graeme Paton, 2020),Health-risks are not the only factor that travellers have to face, In addition, Psychological and social risks best known as “travel Shaming” influence the decision making process of the tourist. People want to feel as safe as possible during the covid-19 pandemic and not be judged by their choices(Matiza, 2020).
On the other hand, Adaptation strategies have been put in place by hoteliers in order to thrive in this industry,market-trends are a great way of analyzing the consumers current needs to create refreshing innovate ideas for the hotel to increase clients and revenue (Abe, 2020), right now, hand sanitizers and other cleaning products are being sold more than ever, that is why major Macro trends,such as, “ambient wellness” and “Artificial Intelligence” represent big opportunities for hotels like the Mercure in Oxford(BV, 2020).By mixing robotics and intensive health measures, the probability of boosting guest confidence to return to hotels and plan holidays again will be much higher, The Mercure does not use this technology, although it has passed all the safety guidelines from the Government, the costumer values and needs are not fulfilled. High-risk people do not trust the housekeeping process of disinfection of hotels.
The LightStrike robot is the first and only official technology proven to kill Covid-19 (WIRE, 2020),“backed up by over 40+ academic papers” (Simmons et al., 2020).Made by Xenex Disinfection Services LLC, an award winning company in UV technology based in San Antonio, Texas, founded in 2008 by two PhD Epidemiologists graduates(Azevedo, 2020). The robot is roughly 1 meter in height, this allows for easy maneuverability and uses a xenon gas lamp that is powered by high voltage electricity; the lamp creates a complete UV germicidal spectrumusing specific wavelengths of light, capable of exterminating viruses like the SARS-CoV2 in a two-minute sterilization cycle and other bacteria in less than 90 seconds(Research, 2020).Since this form of UV light is not typically found in the Earths atmosphere, bacteria and virus are unable to shield, Visitors therefore have more reassurance when it comes to room cleanliness (Bell, 2020);One of the main safety features of the LightStrike is that it gives a warning of a few seconds when the process is about to start and finish. Also, it has a highly advanced motion sensor that detects the presence of a human entering the room, forcing the robot to turn off tobenefit the staff’s safety(Valente-Comas and Huynh, 2016), Other advantages of the robot are: Cloud-based reporting, Auto-updating software, long lasting life and easy to operate, which will very useful for the hotel workers(Xenex, 2020).
Theyare being utilized in 650 Hospitals, government facilities, recently a luxury condo-tower in Miami and 3 top hospitality brands such as: the Beverly Hilton, Westin hotels & resorts and the Waldorf Astoria. Each robot has a cost of £96,691.69, which is equal to £77 a day(GLAZER, 2020). The price of the robot the first year includes the warranty, training and start-ups. In terms of supply, Xenex has worldwide distributors(Xenex, 2020).
The Hotel will benefit immediately by implementing the Germ-Zapping robot. Right now the biggest concern among travelers is Covid-19 especially for people in high-risk. By using this game-changing technology, costumers will be extra safe, confident and furthermore trust the Hotel installations; also this will attract more guests by advertising this new innovation as part of their marketing strategy adding more value to the company. Forbes magazine made an article of the positive public impact of implementing the robot in the hospitality industry(Qubein, 2020).
The probability of the coronavirus being present in the foreseeable future is high, due to possible future mutations and too many people contracting the virus(Caddy, 2020),an effective cure is not tending to be accessible anytime soon, estimating more or less than 18 months until there is a significant vaccine production (Anderson, Heesterbeek, Klinkenberg and Hollingsworth, 2020), Besides, there is always the chance of a new virus-related outbreak, reason why using the robot would work as a long-term innovation for the Hotel. On another note, the LightStrike™ does not need time to warm-up or cool down, making sure all of the 64 rooms at the Mercure are clean and virus-free every day, ready to welcome guests. This technological-innovation only damages virus and bacteria so the hotel wont need to worry about destroyed items in the room due to the intensity of the UV-C light(Sullivan, 2020), The robot will benefit the housekeeping staff too; they will no longer need to operate or breathe dangerous chemical substances to clean the rooms and that most times trigger allergic reactions to guests, instead they will require to do less things(Cohen, 2020).In terms of testing, the robot does not come with a trial period; it requires a full commitment from the hotel.
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