Brexit lifts B&Bs; slippers become robots; hotel Airbnb
Brexit lifts B&Bs; slippers become robots; hotel Airbnb
12 FEBRUARY 2018 8:28 AM

News that caught the eye this week includes: economic woe in the United Kingdom pushing B&Bs; a Japanese plan to eliminate untidy slippers; and an Airbnb plan to sweep everywhere we hold dear aside.

Brits increasingly are booking bed and breakfasts, most likely for weekend breaks, an online booking-technology firm recently reported.

According to the online source—which probably enjoys benefits deriving from creating a stir and subsequent booking panic via social media—forward bookings at United Kingdom B&Bs are up across the board, thanks to the declining value of the pound sterling.

There is even a line in the official press release seemingly gloating on this: “The pound has lost 15% of its value against the Euro in two years.”

I am surprised the word “Hurrah!” does not finish that sentence.

Its findings include that bookings for inland U.K. B&Bs this summer are up 10.3%, while those to seaside destinations are up 5%.

“Northern seaside towns (are) doing especially well,” the firm adds.

Is this a new-found clamouring to discover the delights of Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire; Fonthill Gifford, Wiltshire; or Blubberhouses, Yorkshire? Or does this derive from the pain of Brexit pinching wallets throughout the land?

Also in the news, a leaked impact assessment indicates that two areas that overall voted to leave the European Union, the North East and Birmingham, will see their economies decline by 16% and 13%, respectively, if the British government cannot make an agreement on free trade with the EU.

Anyone with my level of cynicism over the Brexit issue could have guessed that those happiest at leaving will be the least happy at the final outcome, which will probably come with a huge dollop of disbelief on how that could have happened. Also, expect there to be some finger pointing as to how something should be done about it, especially considering they themselves were the brave souls who dared to tell Brussels where to stuff it.

That said, U.K. gross domestic product continues to grow, albeit sluggishly, with the latest numbers published on 26 January stating that Q4 2017 U.K. GDP is up 0.5%, compared with 0.4% in Q3 2017.

But U.K. B&Bs in my experience are far from cheap, so perhaps there really is money floating around.

I, Robot
It’s been almost three years to the day since hotel Henn-na, part of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park near Nagasaki, Japan, introduced robot receptionists, one of which did not resemble a human but was a dinosaur.

Yes, three years! Can you believe it?

If you go along with that conference adage that technology in hotels has not progressed since someone decided to fold back the edge of the first sheet of toilet paper, then this week’s news—thanks to another U.K. newspaper, The Telegraph, could not have come too soon.

According to this source, hotel ProPilot Park Ryokan, approximately 50 miles southwest of Tokyo, has introduced self-parking slippers.

Now guests really can kick off their shoes after a cliché backwards fall onto a bouncy mattress with Egyptian cotton sheets and immediately find their slippers neatly in parallel and slightly poking out from the edge of the bed.

The slippers have tiny wheels with which to maneuver around and tinier sensors that can avoid the slippers bouncing into other objects, which I am positive no discerning slippers-user would ever countenance.

In part, this all comes courtesy of car manufacturer Nissan, so perhaps it is a safe precursor to us all zipping around in driverless cars?

The hotel has 19 rooms, so don’t dilly dally.

Airbnb becomes a hotel
If that is not scary enough for you, news came in on 7 February that Airbnb has teamed up with an online channel manager technology firm to allow B&Bs (really, they’re taking over the world) and boutique hotels to list on the former’s site.

But only “if they are approved by Airbnb” so says the firm’s website.

The world ends in March, apparently.

Email Terence Baker or find him on Twitter.

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  • Renaissance February 12, 2018 7:21 PM Reply

    Terence, I love your humourous touch! See how far you can get away with satirising the decisions of the untouchable corporate offices.

    My warmest regards,


  • Lefty April 20, 2018 10:50 PM Reply

    Normally I'm against killing but this article sltguhaered my ignorance.

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