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Travelodge creates an army of RoboVac buddies to support its nationwide housekeeping teams

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A squadron of hundreds of RoboVac Buddies have been assigned to the group’s 26 Travelodge Wales hotels

Today, in a UK first, an army of custom made RoboVac Buddies have checked-into 579 Travelodge hotels across the length and breadth of the country, to support the company’s housekeeping teams. This investment includes a squadron of hundreds of RoboVac Buddies checking-into the company’s 26 hotels across Wales.

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This multi-million pound UK collective investment of 7,500 RoboVac Buddies is Travelodge’s latest brand evolving initiative, specifically designed to support the company’s housekeeping teams – who have to clean up to nearly 44,000 rooms every day, 365 days of the year.

This is no mean feat, as housekeeping is one of the most important and physically demanding jobs within the hotel sector. This role includes the remit of vacuuming which is a strenuous task.

To help lighten the workload for its housekeeping team members, who collectively vacuum the distance from Holyhead to New York every day – Travelodge travelled into the future to create an industrial hotel spec RoboVac.

The hotel chain teamed up with KILLIS Ltd, a Sheffield based company that specialises in manufacturing specialist cleaning equipment and together engineered the UK’s first industrial RoboVac designed for a busy hotel.

The robotic vacuum cleaners line up in the corridor of a Travelodge Hotel (Image: Travelodge)

This laborious mission took nine months to complete and included the production of five prototypes before the birth of the Travelodge RoboVac Buddy – as this is no ordinary RoboVac. It has robust features to enable it to withstand the daily heavy duty requirements of working in a busy hotel.

These feature include

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  • An industrial booster battery allowing the RoboVac Buddy to vacuum lots of rooms with one charge during their shift
  • A larger and lighter dust collector so that the RoboVac Buddy just needs to be emptied at the end of its shift
  • It is greener and quieter than a traditional corded hoover. A traditional hoover used 1200 watts of power whilst the RoboVac takes 60 watts of power, plus it is bag less so reduced waste to landfill
  • It speaks Travelodge specific software data language

A Travelodge 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 & bathroom cleaning task list, its RoboVac Buddy gets to work thoroughly vacuuming the room. This includes going under the Travelodge Dreamer 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 Travelodge RoboVac Buddies are tucked into their custom made (six) team bunk beds for some much needed R&R (Recharge & Rest). Each hotel has been supplied with 12 RoboVac Buddies on average, while larger sites have up to 40.

District Manager Stuart Bell with RoboVacs (Image: Travelodge)

Craig Bonnar, Travelodge, Chief Executive said: “We are very excited to kick start 2022 by revolutionising the hospitality sector and supporting our housekeeping teams with the roll-out of the UK’s first hotel RoboVac Buddy recruitment programme.

“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.”

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Lira Namoni and RobVacs in hotel corridor (Image: Travelodge)

Lira Namoni, Travelodge RoboVac Buddy Trainer said: “On behalf of my colleagues across all of the UK Travelodge hotels, we are thrilled to welcome our new RoboVac Buddies. They are just incredible and made such a significant difference to housekeeping duties. They have now all completed their induction training and passed their probation and are just raring to get to work.

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 RoboVac Buddy 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 distraught and put a SOR (Save Our RoboVac) message out on social media channels for its safe return. Luckily the RoboVac Buddy was rescued and after a good reboot and charge it is back on duty.”

Travelodge has around 1,000 RoboVacs on standby in a secret base so that they can be deployed to a Travelodge hotel in case of an emergency.

KILLIS Ltd who designed and built the RoboVac Buddy with Travelodge have also built a bespoke surgery at their headquarters to provide a full health service for the Travelodge RoboVac Buddies.

Tibor Killi, KILLIS Ltd, Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to work with Travelodge and create the UK’s first hospitality spec RoboVac. This is the largest cleaning equipment mobilisation in our company’s history and it has been an honour to be making history with Travelodge within the hospitality world.”

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“The Travelodge RoboVac Buddies are going to revolutionise the company’s housekeeping teams working lives and will be a great addition to the Travelodge hotel teams. It has been a pleasure working with an innovative company who puts its people and customers at the heart of its business, and we look forward to the next challenge Travelodge gives us.”

(Lead image: Travelodge)

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