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Your own, personal, robot - Ed’s letter the Depeche Mode song might continue: ‘Someone to hear your prayers/Someone who cares’.

It sounds good, doesn’t it? It sounds like the very essence of the hospitality sector. But maybe not with the robot.

Because we don’t like robots. We think they’re cold, we think they get stuck on the stairs and we think they just can’t do what we do.

It transpires that, following the pandemic, when an awful lot of people realised that they didn’t like working in the hospitality sector, robots and technology in general started to be viewed in a more favourable light.

At Marriott’s fourth-quarter earnings call this month, CFO Leeny Oberg told analysts that spending in 2023 incorporated “higher than typical investment in our customer-facing technology which is overwhelmingly expected to be reimbursed over time”.

She added: “The digital experience and the experience for customers and associates is of critical importance over the next few years and forever. Our tech systems will transform the experience for our guests. We’ve already some incredible things on the app and our ability to address customers’ experience and needs has improved meaningfully.

"It will also transform the experience for our associates, which is critically important as well as we think about how they take care of our guests, most particularly, as they are able to interact with our Bonvoy guests to really address their specific needs.”

And where Marriott, the largest branded hotel company out there, leads, others will follow. It’s worth noting that the experience was being transformed for the guests and for the teams, an appreciation on the part of Marriott that this was an investment which was needed not just to bring in paying people, but also people who get paid.

This is a message we have heard over and over at HOSPACE, but which is now being acted on. And the most reassuring comment of all? That the cash would be coming back.


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