Lonely Planet Writer

'Edward' the chatbot will respond to guests' requests and queries at 12 London hotels

Need a fresh towel or a restaurant recommendation? At 12 hotels in London you can now just send a text and chatbot named Edward will help you get what you need.

Phone. Image by William Hook / CC BY-SA 2.0

Edwardian Hotels London has launched a “virtual host” called Edward to help guests with a variety of requests just by sending a text. The new service is available at 12 Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotels in London, and according to the company, the artificially intelligent service will allow guests to request hotel amenities like room service or fresh towers, or ask for information about local restaurants – or even complain – with a simple text. Edward the chatbot will respond within a few seconds.

The technology uses a “natural language understanding (NLU) interface”, which means guests can speak how they normally would and the chatbot is designed to understand what they need. If not, the application has live assistance as backup if necessary. If you want to hear from a human, you can just ask for someone to respond to your text with a call.

More hotels are embracing technology, such as a robot concierge, to improve guests’ experience and perform necessary functions. Many are also recognizing how many visitors rely on their mobiles to accomplish tasks.

In October, Aloft Hotel in New York announces that it was introducing a room service menu that could be ordered by texting emoji along with your name and room number. The menu contained six different offers, like “The Hangover”, which required guests to send the water droplet, pill and banana emoji to receive a room service package that contained vitamin water, painkillers and bananas.