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by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | January 18, 2018

Cheryl-Anne SturkenRelay robot being loaded for a deliveryJust three months after "Elvis" and "Priscilla" began their jobs at the 548-room Renaissance Hotel Las Vegas, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center, they are about to get even more duties. Currently, the two Relay-brand robots, created by San Jose, Calif.-based Savioke, spend their days picking up orders from the front desk, riding the elevators on their own to make in-room deliveries and making welcome calls to guest rooms. They've also found time to attend the recent Consumer Electronics Show at the LCVV, where they drew a lot of attention and fans who patted them on their heads as they easily navigated the crowded show floor. In the coming months, they also will patrol the hotel's 14 floors and report on poor-quality WiFi zones to the IT department and alert housekeeping to discarded room service food trays left in hallways.

The Renaissance isn't the only hotel with robots on staff. In Los Angeles, you will find "Wally" at the Residence Inn, "Winnie" at the Embassy Suites and "Dash" at the Crowne Plaza San Jose–Silicon Plaza. And then there's "Botlr" at several Aloft properties. In fact, more than 70 Relay robots are on staff at hotels around the world. And their functions continue to broaden. For example, Savioke says it has plans to add a "mingle" function to its Relay robots, which will allow them to interact with guests in the lobby, delivering cocktails, treats and even cracking jokes.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Tessa Lau, "chief robot whisperer" and chief technology officer for Savioke, said the demand from the hospitality industry has been overwhelming. "When we started, honestly, no one believed we could do hotel delivery. It had never been done before. There was a lot of skepticism." Now, the company's priority, she said, is keeping up with deliveries as demand continues to increase.

The company plans to begin beta testing several new functions in the coming months, with plans for a full rollout by summer of this year. In the meantime, "Elvis" has entered the building!