VoIP phone systems have been in common use for decades, but many hoteliers and hotel managers aren’t sold on the benefits. They might be worried about the cost of upgrading, skeptical that it will make much of a difference in their daily operations, or concerned that the reliability of the system won’t live up to their expectations.
But in the last 20 years or so, VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone systems have become the only choice for hotels all over the world, cutting costs and adding features that make staff more efficient and keep costs down. Here’s why.
Superior Call Quality
When you place a call on a traditional analog system, you’re rolling the dice with call quality. Any fault in the system, from shoddy materials to a low-quality handset at either end to increased electrical interference, can make call quality drop. Long-distance calls are especially vulnerable, since the signal has to travel so much farther over physical copper cables.
With a VoIP system, the only thing that matters for call quality is a high-speed internet connection — and by modern standards, not even a particularly fast one. If you had 250 phone lines in your hotel, all making calls simultaneously, you’d still only be using as much internet bandwidth as a single Ultra HD stream on Netflix. Given how ubiquitous and affordable high-speed internet is these days, call quality should never be a concern.
If you were in the hotel business before VoIP for hotels was a viable option, you’ll remember how difficult it was to upgrade your phone system. Every new phone line needed an infrastructure change, opening up walls to install new wires and adding switches to an internal branch exchange.
With VoIP, all of that hassle is a thing of the past. Since there’s no infrastructure required, you can add, remove, move, or change phone lines and numbers whenever you want. All you need is the handsets and a place to plug them in, and the rest happens in a simple browser interface. The same is true of scaling down — if there’s a trunk you don’t need any more, you can simply deactivate it.
One of the biggest downsides of an analog system is the cost. The average analog trunk in the US costs $38 per month to maintain, and that’s not including the higher maintenance costs, upgrades, and long-distance calling. In a hotel with hundreds of trunks, these costs can quickly skyrocket.
While costs will obviously vary depending on the individual use case, VoIP is almost always a significant savings over an analog telephone service. Whether you’re looking at monthly bills or the cost of upgrading, maintenance, or installation, VoIP is almost always a more cost-effective solution.
A well-run hotel is like a well-oiled machine — at any given time, there are many different processes happening simultaneously to keep the whole thing running smoothly, from check-in to food service to maintenance to room cleaning. One of the major challenges in the day-to-day work of a hotel manager is ensuring that these processes are kept organized and efficient.
Far more than just a phone service, your VoIP system can be integrated into the other logistical enterprises in your hotel in almost any way you can think of. For example:
- Customers can check-in remotely without having to stop at the front desk, saving your staff time
- Your cleaning crews can be notified the moment a room is empty so they don’t have to walk the halls and knock on doors individually
- Cleaning crews can instantly notify the check-in system when a room is clean and ready to be filled
- Maintenance can monitor the status of a room and perform checks and routine tasks while the room is empty, all without overlapping with the cleaning staff
- Customers can place room service orders online
- Wake-up calls can be automated so that front desk staff don’t have to set them up manually
The flexibility and customization afforded by a VoIP system is unparalleled, and it’s becoming increasingly important for hotels in the 21st century to keep up with the competition. If you’re not offering these features, your competition might be.