Making the switch to VoIP for your hotel's communications can be an exciting prospect, and you're probably wanting to get started as soon as possible. Before you jump right in, though, there are certain things that you should be aware of first.
What we've done is compile an easy-to-follow checklist that will help you prepare for the change and get the most out of your new VoIP system. Today, we're presenting you with part one of our list, and will follow up with the second and final part next week.
Item #1: Learn the Difference Between On-site and Hosted VoIP
There are two types of VoIP setup -- one is where all the equipment lives and is handled on-site at your hotel, and the other is where there's minimal equipment and is considered to be a virtual system in the cloud. Of course, you'll either need an expert on hand at all times or be ready for delays when the system needs to be tweaked, both of which may cost you more in the long run. With a company like PhoneSuite, you have the option to have either solution and the advantage of having experts always ready, handling everything from daily monitoring to maintenance issues.
Item #2: Know the System Requirements
Since VoIP is an internet-based solution, your network must be able to handle the needs of the system. This is determined by the amount of traffic that your hotel sees on a regular basis. If your network doesn't have enough bandwidth, you'll experience poor call quality when it gets busy. The holidays are typically the busiest time of the year in the hospitality industry, so we'd suggest that you base your calculations on those times from the previous year or two. You obviously don't want to waste money, but keep in mind that it's better to have a network that's a bit more robust than what you truly need rather than one that doesn't meet your requirements to ensure call quality and reliability.
Item #3: Choose Your Features Wisely
More and more, choosing features is becoming less of an issue for hotel owners. For one thing, some of the features that other businesses require on a regular basis don't seem to be quite as beneficial to the hospitality industry. Also, it's increasingly more common these days to find a number of notable features already included with a VoIP system. The best thing to do is discuss the features with a reputable VoIP provider like PhoneSuite to make sure that you'll get the features needed to maximize the system's usefulness.
Item #4: Crunch the Numbers
This goes, in part, with the first item on our list. Once you decide to upgrade your hotel's phone system to VoIP, you'll want to crunch the numbers. First and foremost, you need to calculate the costs of choosing between an on-site and hosted solutions as they relate to setup costs, monthly fees, and ongoing maintenance costs. If your network needs to be upgraded, or you want to purchase new equipment such as VoIP-enabled phones, you need to stick those figures in there as well. The more detailed you are, the less chance that the final cost of making the switch will surprise you.
These are the first four items that you'll want to put on your VoIP checklist before making the switch. As previously stated, we'll follow up next week with the rest of our list, so stay tuned. If you're chomping at the bit and can't wait, however, don't hesitate to contact PhoneSuite today and we'll tell you everything else you need to know or answer any other questions you might have.