Lonely Planet Writer

Connie's here to help: robot concierge assists guests at McLean, Virginia Hilton hotel

A new robot employee at a Hilton Hotel in McLean, Virginia will be able to tell guests about local tourist attractions, dining recommendations, hotel features and amenities – and improve its recommendations as it interacts with more guests.

‘Connie’ is a Watson-enabled robot concierge developed by IBM. The robot is named after Hilton’s founder Conrad Hilton. Watson, a cognitive computing techonology by IBM, is perhaps best-known for its stint competing against humans on Jeopardy.

Connie now takes that same question-answering ability and learns to interact with guests and responds to questions “in a friendly and informative manner,” according to a news release.

Visitors to the Hilton Hotel in McLean, Va. meet "Connie," a robot concierge named after Conrad Hilton and powered by IBM Watson and WayBlazer. Connie, in pilot testing at the hotel, uses cognitive computing and machine learning to answer questions posed in natural language about the hotel, local tourist attractions and restaurants -- while learning with each interaction.
Visitors to the Hilton Hotel in McLean, Va. meet “Connie,” a robot concierge named after Conrad Hilton and powered by IBM Watson and WayBlazer. Image by Green Buzz Agency/Feature Photo Service for IBM

The more guests interact with the robot, the more it learns, adapts and improves its recommendations. The hotel will also have a log of the questions asked and how Connie responds, so the hotel can improve guests’ experiences.

The announcement came at a good time, as a recently released survey says the majority of travellers are comfortable with robots in the travel industry.

Read more: Most travellers are happy to take help from robots

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