There’s no denying that VoIP is the phone system of the future — while voice over internet protocol technology has been prevalent for several decades, it’s rapidly becoming a vital piece of any large business’ communication needs.

When you’re ready to bring your hotel’s communication capabilities into the 21st century, you’ll have the choice of dozens of VoIP clients. Finding the one that will most effectively fulfill the needs of your hotel isn’t always easy, but there are several basic considerations to guide you in making your decision.

1. Experience

Your hotel's phone system is one of its most important components — you shouldn’t entrust its design or installation to anyone but an expert who knows exactly what your hotel needs and how to provide it. While there are plenty of VoIP clients, only Phonesuite has been designed exclusively for the unique needs of the hotel industry. Working with a provider that knows the ins and outs of the hotel industry will help installation and operation run more smoothly.

2. Price and Features

In almost all circumstances, VoIP is less costly than a traditional phone system. Whether you're setting up a hosted or on-premise PBX, VoIP providers can differ significantly in both price and the features included for that price. Features you might want include:

  • Updated phone behavior to comply with new regulations such as Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’s Act 
  • Digital directories so callers can find guests, faculties, or staff by name or department
  • Call forwarding to a tablet or smartphone so your managers aren’t tied to a desk
  • Business tools like digital faxing, conference calls, video conferencing, and dedicated temporary numbers
  • Full guest information including reservation details, preferred language, and preferences like view and bed size
  • Remote check-in and checkout
  • Integration with other hotel systems

Take stock of the features that matter most to your hotel, then ensure that the VoIP provider you’re considering can offer those features for a reasonable price.

3. Reliability of Service

There are few things more frustrating and disappointing to your guests than unpredictable, unreliable phone or internet service. From day one, your VoIP provider needs to instill confidence that their service agents and technicians will be available to you when you need them. Any delay in service can hurt your profits and reputation — you need a provider that can give you the peace of mind you need.

4. Network Security

Data security has always been a concern, but this is truer now than ever before. It is essential that you protect every single person who is using your hotel's phone system. VoIP has standardized encryption as one of its core processes, but a VoIP provider must also have its own high level of security. This will prevent any intrusion into your system and, by association, any communications that flow through it.

5. Third-Party Integration

If a VoIP provider is not able to fully integrate with the third-party hardware or software that your hotel is currently using, you may incur extra costs or be unable to provide proper communication to your guests and employees. A good VoIP provider should be able to integrate with your existing technology, find a viable workaround, or suggest a different utility that will integrate better with your new phone system.

6. Downtime Guarantee

Every minute of downtime costs you money — if your guests can’t place phone calls, access the internet, or interact with the internal systems of the hotel, they won’t hesitate to leave negative reviews or complain to your staff. Your VoIP provider should guarantee effectively zero downtime, with heavy penalties if any occurs.

7. Compliance

Laws change on an ongoing basis, but the technology that powers an analog phone system hasn’t changed in the better part of a century. Just recently, two new laws changed the way that hotels and other large businesses are required to handle 911 calls, which will be nearly impossible for analog systems to comply with. As the conversation around digital privacy, data protection, and high-tech communications continues, it’s likely that the laws concerning phone systems will continue to evolve. Your phone system needs to be ready.