In a UK first the company has this week deployed it’s army of RoboVac Buddies – developed in Sheffield – to hotels across the UK, including three in the Steel City at Central, Meadowhall and Richmond.
The multi-million pound investment of 7,500 RoboVac Buddies is Travelodge’s latest initiative - specifically designed to support the company’s housekeeping teams – who have to clean up to nearly 44,000 rooms nationwide every day, 365 days of the year.
The company brought in the robo helpers to lighten the workload for its housekeeping team members, who collectively vacuum the distance from Sheffield to New York every day,
Craig Bonnar, Travelodge chief executive, said: “Housekeeping is the most important and physically demanding job at Travelodge and we are always looking for low cost and innovative ways to support our colleagues.
"Automating vacuuming with the introduction of the Travelodge RoboVac Buddies is a fun, win-win solution which helps us to drive a greener, cleaner and more efficient room clean. The army of Travelodge RoboVac Buddies have settled in really well and are a massive hit with our hotel teams and customers.”
The hotel chain teamed up with KILLIS Ltd, a Sheffield based company that specialises in manufacturing specialist cleaning equipment, to engineer the UK’s first industrial RoboVac.
This laborious mission took nine months to complete and included the production of five prototypes before the birth of the Travelodge RoboVac Buddy.
It has robust features to enable it to withstand the daily heavy duty requirements of working in a busy hotel.
Tibor Killi, managing director of KILLIS Ltd, said: “This is the largest cleaning equipment mobilisation in our company’s history.”
A RoboVac Buddy has been allocated to each housekeeping team member to support them during their shift.
Whilst the housekeeping team member completes a comprehensive room and bathroom cleaning task list, its RoboVac Buddy gets to work thoroughly vacuuming the room.
This includes going under the bed and in every nook and cranny of the room. It also vacuums the hotel’s hallways, public spaces and the Bar Café if the hotel has one.
At the end of their shift, the robo cleaners are tucked into their custom made six team bunk beds for some much needed recharge and rest.
Each hotel has been supplied with 12 RoboVac Buddies on average, while larger sites have up to 40.
However, there have been a couple of casualties during training.
A RoboVac Buddy at Gatwick Airport Travelodge took a wrong turn and was found in Spain.
Another at Cambridge Orchard Park Travelodge had a technical glitch during its reception cleaning shift and bolted out of the hotel onto the streets.
The hotel team were so distraught and put a SOR (Save Our RoboVac) message out on social media channels for its safe return.
Luckily it was rescued and after a good reboot and charge it is back on duty.