China’s Alibaba Is Shaping the Future of the Machine-Driven Hotel

Cetin Sekergioclu, who introduced in-room robots, check in kiosks, and egg-cooking robots at M Social Hotel and Hotel Jen Orchardgateway in Singapore when he was working with Millennium Hotels & Resorts and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, respectively, does not believe all hotels will look like FlyZoo in the future.

However, Sekergioclu, now CEO and founder of, believes the Alibaba-style hotel can inspire a new niche category, “whatever it will be called, perhaps AI/machine-driven hotels?”

“What we may see in the future is that beside full-fledged Alibaba-style hotels, other hotels will pick and choose the beneficial AI functions to use in their properties, such as facial recognition, voice recognition, big data, digital key, kiosk check-in, based on their hotel category and branding.

“Above all, I believe human touch is essential during the customer journey where personal attention/focus will always be necessary regardless of any hotel category. AI/machine may augment the customer experience while delivering more efficient and better cost management for a very targeted audience.”

As an example, he said the robots at M Social and Hotel Jen are suitable for the hotels, which are lifestyle products, hence the customer experience is extremely positive. “They enable staff to focus more on providing personalized service and the hotels to schedule manpower more effectively. For example, the in-room robots can take care of the night-shift duties.”