Is a hotel phone system really worth it?
Because business travelers make up a significant part of hotel clientele, some hospitality properties have found it necessary to upgrade their hotel phone system with the latest technology and functionality. In doing so, the modern hotel phone system transforms any room into a mobile office.
Whether you’re a luxury resort located near the sand or a small motel on the outskirts of town, it’s essential you give your guests and staff the ability to connect with someone at any hour, day or night. And it only takes one stay at a location that doesn’t have a phone in the room (yes, those places are still out there) to make your guests never want to return – no matter how cheap the rates. That’s because the ability to connect with staff and management is now considered a standard amenity.
Unlike the old PBX systems of yesteryear, the modern hotel phone system includes data, phone service, voicemail, call centers and web access into one user-friendly system. For the management side, that system typically also integrates email, internet fax and external and internal calls, all collated through a simple interface.
‘Common’ vs. ‘room’ settings
The modern hotel phone system accommodates a number of unique options, among them the ability to designate specific extensions that provide limited services. The difference is referred to as “common” or “room” settings, with room settings containing the full menu of enhanced connectivity for paying guests. Conversely, ‘common’ phone extensions are often found in a lobby, office, and restaurant or bar area, and typically limit the user to internal phones and local calls only.
Which brands offer a hotel phone system?
Though largely dependent upon the size of your property and the number of extensions required, there are a few phone systems that cater to the specific needs of the hotel industry. These include:
Avaya IP Office - Designed to accommodate smaller properties needing 2 to 360 extensions, the Avaya IP office station is highly-scalable, which makes it ideal for hotels that may be expanding, or hotels that operate on a seasonal basis. This hotel phone systemm incorporates Avaya's converged voice and data technology, an advancement that enables small to mid-sized properties to take advantage of the cost-effectiveness of VoIP technology, saving on the expenses associated with per-line charges often found in an old PBX system. At the same time, the system is easily managed in-house. Costs run around $850 for a basic unit.
DuVoice – Taking a step up, the DuVoice hotel phone system is designed for larger properties or those needing a higher level of advanced functionalities. As a result, this comprehensive system includes voicemail, automated attendant, wakeup call and messaging systems for hospitality applications. Plus, it also features a user-friendly property management system that provides hospitality messaging, and a time and attendance feature that allows staff to clock in from any phone. In addition, the system operates on the Windows XP Professional operating system from Microsoft, providing an open architecture that supports various third-party products and a familiar interface for staff that reduces training time often associated with unfamiliar applications. Costs range from $2,800 to $26,000.
Avaya Communication Manager S8x00 – Another option from Avaya, this hotel phone system is geared toward large hotels or chains and handles 50 to 10,000 stations. It uses a single network to unify both voice and data communication, integrating all your connectivity tools under one banner and singular interface. Also incorporating VoIP technology, it’s great for properties with locations in other states or countries, enabling you to save on long-distance calling to or from a home office or between locations. In addition, the system uses advanced architecture and virtualization technology to easily connect employees at any location through voice, video, messaging and presence. Though specific costs are difficult to nail down due to the varying size of each property, the Branch, Standard and Enterprise Editions offer per-user licensing, with software and hardware add-ons available to supplement additional needs for scalability and eliminate redundancy.