How Hotel VoIP Systems Can Revolutionize Connections
Hotels are expanding their services, improving the guest experience, and providing state-of-the-art support tools. How? Hotel VoIP systems.
The Internet has revolutionized how travelers research and book hotel stays, and today’s guests rely on their cell phones for outside calls, but that doesn’t mean hotels should abandon their phone systems. The hotel phone still remains the artery that keeps the hospitality industry running day in and day out, twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year.
Guests don’t use their cell phones when they want to reach the concierge, order room service, or express any concerns they might have. They pick up the bedside extension. However, like every other sector, the hospitality industry is exploring ways to cut costs, and to this end, many hotels are doing the unthinkable: ripping out their legacy phone systems. But they’re not cutting off their noses to spite their accountants’ faces.
Far from it. They’re actually expanding their service options, improving the guest experience, and providing state-of-the-art support tools to their customer service staff. How? They’re replacing their landline phone systems with hotel VoIP systems.
The economic benefits of hotel VoIP systems
Hotels can reap the economic benefits of VoIP on many levels.
Installation and maintenance
With VoIP systems, hotels can dispense of fixed phone lines and the installation and maintenance costs that come with them, as well as expensive monthly nationwide and international phone bills. They can do this in one of two ways:
- They can run their systems on their own WAN or LAN network.
- They can avail themselves of the Internet in conjunction with a hosted cloud solution.
The former solution frees IT of the task of dealing with the problems of an expensive dedicated phone network, leaving them to concentrate their efforts and energies on one network. The latter eliminates the costs that come with installing and maintaining an on-premises network and frees up the valuable space it takes up.
VoIP phones are available in all models so they meet the varied needs of hotels, ranging from programmable desk phones for the front office to inexpensive room extensions and wireless or mobile handsets for maintenance staff.
Scalability and seasonal demand
Hotels, particularly those serving the leisure market and the business conference/tradeshow sector, find that their need for phone lines waxes and wanes with the seasons. Whereas a fixed line system calls for the time and money needed to install additional lines, VoIP providers not only offer service on an as-needed basis but take care of the infrastructure as well.
Centralized communications management
For communications requirements on any scale, VoIP can cut costs, increase efficiency, and do away with infrastructure duplication by centralizing communications management. This especially suits:
- Hotels that operate on multiple sites or have remote systems serving pools, spas, restaurants, gyms, remote lodges, and the like
- Those with offsite call centers for reservations and information dispensing
- Hotel groups that maintain overseas or nationwide locations
Hotels and expanded VoIP services
Guest room services
Even though guests rely on their cell phones for making and receiving calls, hotels can enhance their room phones with the advanced functionality VoIP offers. For example, soft keys can be programmed to give one-touch access to the restaurant, front desk or housekeeping; conference attendees can enjoy free room-to-room connections. Some hotels can especially ingratiate foreign tourists by allowing international calling, and then charging low VoIP rates.
Mobility and United Communications
Although most of a hotel’s staff keeps on the move all day, VoIP ensures they can be reached at all times. And this doesn’t apply only to housekeeping and maintenance. At any given time, a reception person can be called away to deal with a situation in another area, or a manager may be involved in a trade show space. A VoIP function known as Follow Me can seamlessly transfer a call from a desk phone to a mobile phone. Alternatively, the Presence feature can let the caller know a staff member is not at his desk and give him the option of calling the cell number.
VoIP and the future of the hospitality industry
According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s 2014 Industry Profile, Americans have their choice of over 5 million rooms spread throughout 53,000 hotels. If hotels are to attract more guests to fill these rooms, they will have to provide visitors with the technology they’re accustomed to at home.
This means video conferencing for business travelers, and since virtually no one leaves home without their laptop or tablet, high levels of bandwidth and speedy broadband connections will be required. Thanks to the flexibility and scalability of VoIP, hotels powered by it can easily meet these and future expectations.