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Progress on robotics in hospitality and tourism: a review of the literature

Stanislav Ivanov (Department of Tourism, Varna University of Management, Varna, Bulgaria)
Ulrike Gretzel (USC Center for Public Relations, Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Katerina Berezina (Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management, University of Mississippi, Mississippi, USA)
Marianna Sigala (School of Management, University of South Australia Business School, Adelaide, Australia)
Craig Webster (Department of Management, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology

ISSN: 1757-9880

Article publication date: 13 May 2019

Issue publication date: 21 November 2019




This paper aims to provide a comprehensive review of research on robotics in travel, tourism and hospitality, and to identify research gaps and directions for future research.


This paper analyzes 131 publications published during 1993-2019, identified via Scopus, Web of Science, ResearchGate, and Google Scholar. It offers quantitative analysis of frequencies and cross-tables and qualitative thematic analysis of the publications within each of seven identified domains.


The paper identifies “Robot,” “Human,” “Robot manufacturer,” “Travel/tourism/hospitality company,” “Servicescape,” “External environment” and “Education, training and research” as the research domains. Most research studies are dedicated to robots in restaurants, airports, hotels and bars. Papers tend to apply engineering methods, but experiments and surveys grow in popularity. Asia-Pacific countries account for much of the empirical research.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis was limited to publications indexed in four databases and one search engine. Only publications in English were considered. Growing opportunities for those who are anxious to publish in the field are identified. Importantly, emerging research is branching out from the engineering of robots to the possibilities for human/robot interactions and their use for service providers, opening up new avenues of research for tourism and hospitality scholars.

Practical implications

The paper identified a myriad of application areas for robots across various tourism and hospitality sectors. Service providers must critically think about how robots affect the servicescape and how it needs to be adjusted or re-imagined to ensure that robots and employees can augment the service experiences (co-)created within it.


This is the first study to systematically analyze research publications on robotics in travel, tourism and hospitality.


本论文全面评论了在旅游酒店业中的机器人技术的研究, 并指出文献缺口和未来研究方向。


本论文分析了在1993年至2019年发布在Scopus、Web of Science、ResearchGate、、和Google Scholar的131篇文献。本论文对文献做了一系列定量分析, 包括频率分析、交叉表、定性文本分析、在七大确立的领域中对每个领域的文献进行分析。


本论文确立了七个研究领域:机器人、人类、机器生产者、旅游酒店企业、Servicescape、外部环境、和教育培训和研究。大多数文献集中在对饭店、机场、酒店、和酒吧的机器人研究。文献往往采用工程手段进行研究, 但是实验和问卷方式正在呈增长趋势。亚太国家占据大多数实证研究作品。


本论文样本库局限于四个数据库和一个搜索引擎。只有英文文献被采样。本论文为对相关领域感兴趣的学者指出研究方向。重要的是, 本论文发现用工程角度研究机器人的文献有了分支, 有一小部分文献开始着手研究人/机器人交互和其在服务过程中的使用的研究, 这对旅游酒店学者提供新研究视角。


本论文指出了一系列有关旅游酒店领域中机器人的应用。服务商必须重视机器人如何影响Servicescape以及如何审视机器人与人的交互, 确保其与员工加强消费者的服务体验(价值共创)。






Ivanov, S., Gretzel, U., Berezina, K., Sigala, M. and Webster, C. (2019), "Progress on robotics in hospitality and tourism: a review of the literature", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 489-521.



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