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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.Design/methodology/approachThis paper analyzes 131 publications published during 1993-2019, identified via Scopus, Web of Science, ResearchGate, Academia.edu 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.FindingsThe 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/implicationsThe 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 implicationsThe 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.Originality/valueThis is the first study to systematically analyze research publications on robotics in travel, tourism and hospitality.
Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 21, 2019
Keywords: Robotics; Research agenda; Servicescape; Robonomics; Robot adoption; rService
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