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Bring in the Robot Cleaners: Travel Industry Innovations for the Pandemic

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Robotic cleaning in use at the Westin Houston Medical Center in Houston, TX.

Housekeeping robots are one way the travel industry is innovating during the pandemic.

Credit: Westin Houston Medical Center

While most hotels that remain open after the outbreak of Covid-19 are stepping up cleaning routines, the Westin Houston Medical Center in Houston, Texas, is going beyond Lysol and bleach. In addition to standard cleaning protocols, it says it is the first to deploy two newly acquired robots to sanitize rooms and common areas.

LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots — already in use at more than 400 hospitals in the United States, according to their manufacturer Xenex Disinfection Services — use xenon ultraviolet light pulses to kill viruses, bacteria and fungi. Peer-reviewed studies published by the company have found the robots have decreased environmental infection rates between 50 and 100 percent.

"To provide our guests and clients with an additional level of well-being, we decided to add another step to our current disinfectant protocol by implementing the germ-zapping UV light robots," wrote Archit Sanghvi, the vice president of operations for Pearl Hospitality, the hotel's owner and operator, in an email.

Other hygienic practices that the new hotel — which handles, among other guests, patients seeking medical treatment at the Texas Medical Center — include removing nonessential items like decorative pillows and magazines, and disinfecting the TV remote control and placing it in a sealed plastic bag.


From The New York Times
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