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Best Telephone Systems for Hotels 2018 – Review, Prices & Installation

A hotel’s communication process is crucial to its success. The right hotel phone system can not only save valuable time streamlining all communication needs and guest rooms but can also enhance the visiting experience of the guest. Going beyond internal and external calls, the communication system needs to be able to allow the guests to communicate with the hotel’s staff and the guest rooms through a variety of means, wherever they may be. Allowing a variety of clever functions such as scheduled wake up calls, room status allocation, text messaging guest with offers and promotions, All this needs to be streamlined with the check-in and ensure a call is never missed.

Hospitality Phone Systems

The telephone setup that hotels use is called a Hospitality Phone System. They have the same functions as a regular business telephone system with a few special features to accommodate hotel requirements.

Types

Hotels typically use these types of phone systems:

PBX

This is the traditional wired system that links all phones to a single onsite PBX. This is said to be the most reliable type in terms of downtime and drop-out rates. 

The incoming phone line can be based on with VOIP or analogue and everything is routed through one central PBX. The initial costs for the technology of these systems are higher than VOIP, although the long term costs may be cheaper.


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VoIP

This is the latest in communications. The phones are connected via the Internet resulting in cheaper call rates. This type offers a lot in terms of innovation, management, and connectivity. It is not perfect yet so it is still prone to drop-outs and poor call quality if you don´t have good internet speed. More on the advantages of VOIP guest rooms here.

Features of Hotel telephone systems

Incorporating the right features for your hotel increases productivity and guest experience.Before you embark on the installation of a new system is is vital you know which features you need for your business.

I have outlined the most useful and common features selected by hotels to ensure smooth day-to-day running. All features can be integrated in you your PMS system (property management system) or providers can advise on the installation of a new one.

• Front desk telephones with guest information (check out time/date)
• Wake up alarms
• Reminders
• External calls from guest rooms
• Call cost features that connect to the billing department
• User-friendly phone interface

Advanced Features

There are now hospitality platforms with advanced features. Some of those features are:

• Search box to find client or staff names
• One-click call/transfer
• Pop up screen that displays guest information
• Vital guest information (VIP status, affiliation, language, wake up calls, voice mail, etc.) are attached to the guest’s name and not the phone. This is especially helpful when a client asks to be transferred to another room.
• Smart unlimited wake ups that can be scheduled according to the date and time
• Voicemail prompts in the client’s preferred language
• Different wake-up options – snooze, room service, weather forecast
• Option to check out using the room phone

System Providers

The following are the most popular providers of these types of systems. As for the installation, you will need to find a dealer in your area.

Cisco

Cisco is one of the leading names in technology and communications. Cisco has also branched out to the hospitality industry to provide them with solutions to their ever increasing needs. Hotels now partner with Cisco not only to provide them with an impressive technological network but also with advanced communication setups. One such example is the Cisco Unified Hotel Communications. It is a unified platform that encompasses the whole property. It includes voice, messaging, video and voicemail for everyone  – guests and staff alike. This platform is integrated into a network router which in turn manages and monitors communications in the whole property. The rooms are equipped with analog and VoIP services. They also get group messaging, voice services, wake-up calls, E-91, intra-room calling,  service integration for guest service phones, in room dining, etc.

Mitel

Mitel is another big name in the industry. Mitel has been working with different hotels from small to luxury establishments all over the world. They have a very straightforward communications solution. Their solution is simple and features are integrated into the console. The telephone user interface is user-friendly, minimizing training. This simple approach makes the staff always aware of their clients’ needs.
Features such as voicemail, automatic call distribution, auto attendant, recorded announcements, etc. all increase staff productivity and improve services.
The Mitel system is flexible and you can easily integrate it with hospitality applications, property management systems, and guest room telephones. You can implement traditional or IP platforms.

The Mitel system is also cost effective. As it is flexible, you can move it between private and public cloud sites without the need to reinvest.
Mitel also has a hospitality team that works with owners, industry associations, consultants and management companies to come up with the best solutions for today’s demanding clients.

NEC

NEC is keeping up with the challenges and demands that the hospitality industry faces. They understand these needs and so they come up with solutions to make services better. The staff needs to communicate with the clients easily and guests expect the hotel to provide them with the latest technology so that they can be assured that their stay is convenient, comfortable and entertaining.
NEC helps these businesses achieve not only their present goals but their future goals as well. NEC prides itself on being a formidable strength in the global market. NEC provides hotels with strategies that will help them avoid risks and uncertainties and will eventually make them thrive.

The NEC comprehensive solution is tailor made to fit the unique demands of the hotel industry. They can provide owners with an on-site platform or cloud based one, a basic telephone system or a highly advanced one. They also offer solutions that enhance productivity and can accommodate properties of all sizes. Premier establishments all across the globe are partners with NEC because of their solutions. At the end of the day, a hotel aims to become more efficient, productive and responsive and that’s what NEC does to them.

hotel-phone

Avaya

Avaya is one of the leading companies when it comes to hospitality systems. They ensure your system’s technology is up-to-date, allowing you to communicate with your guests wherever they are on which ever device they choose. You can live chat to help close a booking with a client or the clients can video chat with the concierge directly to ask for help or advice. You can send offers and promotions to the client’s phone directly depending on their location, for example, a drink offer if they enter the bar. Allowing direct communication with clients improves customer experience, allowing for better reviews and building long-term relationships. You can even set up the room entry system to work with the client’s mobiles and allow them to use their mobile to charge their meal to the bill of the room or control the rooms gadgets directly from their mobile. Avaya pride themselves on offering the hospitality phone system of the future and with such clever functions it is easy to see why.

Key Players in Hotel installation

A different contractor is responsible for the different areas of the installation of phone system, its important to know a breakdown of the key players involved in the complete installation, so you know how to co-ordinate the job and every part can work together. The supplier may offer more than one specialised contractors to complete more than one role, but if you are aware of the different players, you know who to talk to if things need changing or are not going to plan.


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PBX Supplier – This company is the principal company that will be responsible for the functionality of the phone system. They may also be the one installing the phone system although this is not necessarily the case.

PMS company – your property management system company, it is mandatory the phone system is integrated to the PMS, this can be acheived with the help of both the PMS and the PBX suppliers

Trunk provider – what ever type of system is used, there is going to be some trucks involved, make sure you have the contact information of the suppliers of the trucks and keep an eye on how many trunks you need for your hotel.

Internet provider – this could be the same as the trunk provider, but if they are not sourced from the same company they need to be able to communicate with each other

Guest room phone supplier – This could be supplied but the same company that is supplying the PBX, but if not they need to be sourced and on site before the co-ordination of the system. Most of the times the phones will need to be set up and plugged in in each individual hotel room by the hotel staff. If those phones are already existing then you will still need to coordinate between the PBX supplier and the programming people to make sure the phones can actually do the set functions they are programmed to do.

Cable contractor – these guys install and test all the cables in the network.

PBX installation company – many times this is organised by the PBX supplier as either in house or subcontracted but bottom line its by a different engineer.

Call Accounting Provider – many hotels like to use a particular brand or method of call accounting, that needs to be co-ordinated with the installation.

Network administrator – Can help you with the coordination of all the information, if you have an in-house IT consultant, it is possible they can also deal with the network, if not then it can be outsourced. The system needs to be integrated with all the parts of the system and an system integrator can help you on your way a specialist system integrator can be consulted for this purpose.

Before you start with an installation it is advisable to walk through the hotel and infrastructure with the key players of the core installation contractors to make sure everything on the installation date goes to plan. Make sure you go through all the functionalities required with the contractors, if you are updating things don’t assume the new system will do the same as the old phone system.

Choosing a supplier

The first thing you need to look for when choosing a supplier is their expertise in the industry. You need a supplier with years of experience as this is no small investment. There is a lot of money at stake here and you want to avoid mistakes. You need experts not only in telecommunications but IT and logistics as well. We can help by providing 3 no obligation quotations from the most suitable suppliers for your needs. Simply fill out the form above.

Author: Yazz

Yazz is a trained telecommunications engineer with a diploma in telecommunications. He has spent the last 15 years working for Telefonica, one of the largest telephone operators and mobile network providers in the world.