In the hospitality industry, good communication is vital when it comes to running a successful operation and making your customers happy. From customers calling in to make reservations to timely notifications of room availability between your staff, every process hinges on the quality of your phone systems.
For decades, hotels have relied on hardware-heavy PBX phone systems for their communications. While common, these traditional phone systems require extensive wiring throughout the building, expensive reliance on phone companies, and the stress and difficulty of continuous system maintenance. With all of these costs and potential risks, PBX phone systems are often more of a drain than an asset.
With the development of the internet and digital voice services, however, VoIP phone systems now offer a better communications option. With the cost, capabilities, and reliability you need to create the ideal customer experience, VoIP is the answer to all of your hospitality communication needs.
What is VoIP?
When using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication, your voice is converted into a digital signal that travels over your broadband connection. As this digital data travels down the line, it adapts to correctly reach the recipient. If the person at the other end of the line is using a traditional phone, for example, the signal converts to a regular telephone signal. For calls made to a computer app or a VoIP-based phone, the signal remains in its digital form.
Now, what does that all mean for you?
Because VoIP operates over the internet, it offers a significant advantage in cost, flexibility, and performance. Your communications run solely through your broadband, eliminating your reliance on a costly phone company. If you need to add more lines to your phone service, you can do so without needing the physical space, hardware, and wiring required for traditional phones. Though you’ll need to partner with a VoIP provider, you’ll be able to do much more with your communications at a far lower cost.
Most exciting, switching to VoIP communications allows hotels to offer a growing number of perks to guests. From on-the-go voicemail to multi-line capabilities, internet-based phone systems provide options that were previously unavailable (or too expensive) to hotel guests. Plus, as technology continues to develop, VoIP allows you to keep your hospitality ahead of the game — and above your competitors.
How can VoIP benefit hotels and hospitality?
When it comes to working in the hospitality industry your greatest goal is providing a comfortable, satisfactory experience to your guests. You serve as a “home away from home,” so you strive to provide lodgings that meet guests’ every need and surpass their every expectation.
Though many only consider guest phones when talking about hospitality communications, there are also phones for staff-to-staff communication, reservations, guest services, and more. With all these important connections, made constantly throughout the day, an effective phone system can be the make-or-break of your operations.
In order to provide communications, you can fully rely on, VoIP phone systems offer incredible features and benefits for your hospitality needs. To give you an idea of what you’ll enjoy with an internet-based system, we’ve included the benefits VoIP offers hotels below.
Lowering phone system costs
With a traditional PBX system, you’re required to wire your hotel for the phone lines you need and build an infrastructure that supports your full system. Every line and call requires additional costs through your phone company. And, even if you bundle your services, your phone and data options demand separate and higher costs.
By using a VoIP system, your communication requires lower costs upfront and continues to offer savings moving forward. Though you can purchase softphones, which are made specifically for use with VoIP capabilities, you can also integrate your existing hardware into your new system. Your new communications will run solely over your broadband service, allowing you to run voice and data over the same network. And, whether you expand or adapt your phone services to meet future needs, you’ll save in both costs and convenience.
Minimizing system maintenance
When your phone system goes down, everyone is affected. A PBX phone system involves many physical components, so you are responsible to maintain your system and keep it in working condition. As a digital system, your VoIP service is maintained and updated by your provider. No matter what happens with your communication, you are never required to spend time or money on repairs and updates. Instead, a single call to your provider will provide a quick solution — often at no additional cost. You can trust that your phones will continue working, all while you focus on other important tasks.
Improving front desk service
As a busy hotel, you constantly have calls coming in and going out of your front desk. From reservations to vendor orders to guest inquiries, your phones rarely stay on the hook. VoIP phone systems give you the reliability to stay available to guests, while also providing the capabilities that allow you to improve your service without increasing your staff’s burden.
Features such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems and auto attendants provide automated menus and responses to better manage incoming calls. Using IVR, you can build interactive menus that allow callers to easily reach the right department, answer FAQs, and make reservations — all without speaking to a staff member. You can also easily route after-hour calls to off-site answering services, ensuring guests speak to a real person when needed. No matter the time of the call or the number of staff on hand, guests will always reach exactly who they need.
Creating a personal touch
Your hotel has dozens of competitors, so it’s important to show customers that you are the right choice. To give your communication a personal touch, your hotel’s VoIP system can connect directly to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. These systems allow you to record information about each guest, including names, specific needs, and their history with your company. When you receive an incoming call, your integrated CRM will display this information on the computer screen, allowing your staff to greet each person by name. With this personalized customer service, you can give guests the best experience possible.
Scaling your system to any size
VoIP systems allow your hotel to grow as needed, no matter how many rooms or phones you add. Without the need for additional wiring or the cost of added lines, you can keep your guests connected at all times. When adding new communication capabilities or updating your communications, you can also enjoy a system that easily enables these changes. Even if you need to increase your bandwidth or add new softphones to your infrastructure, your updates will be quick and seamless, keeping your phone system up at all times.
Expanding hotel communications
For decades, hospitality phone systems have been limited to voice calls within the hotel or to other phones at a high cost. Through an internet-based system, you can expand your hotel communications to include more telephony options at a price anyone can afford. With low-cost broadband calls, guests can now make multi-line and long-distance calls without incurring substantial charges. If guests are working from their rooms, your VoIP system allows for options such as video conferencing, voicemails, virtual faxing, and customized speed dials. No matter what they need, you can offer it.
Enhancing call quality
While VoIP telephone technology has been around for a while, it’s early, less-than-stellar call quality minimized its used for several years. Now, however, these systems offer an as-good or better sound quality than their PBX counterparts. With these high-quality phone calls, guests will always be satisfied with their room communications.
Unifying your hotel
With such a large operation, your hospitality depends on good communication between your staff. From cleaning to room service to reservations, every system relies on another to provide a smooth, successful experience all-around. By bringing your hospitality communications onto a single system, you can keep everyone in the loop and reach your staff when you need them. Need the current status of a particular room? Your staff can quickly report if it has been cleaned, stocked, and ready for use. This quick connectivity will keep you on top of every operation and event occurring with your hotel, keeping you prepared at all times.
What should I look for in a hospitality VoIP phone system?
As you prepare to add a VoIP phone system to your hotel, it’s important to find a provider that offers the features and reliability you need. There are dozens of phone providers with hospitality VoIP services, so it can be helpful to know what to look for before you begin searching. Keep these features in mind as you look at your options to ensure you find the best fit for your hotel.
1. Hospitality experience
Even if the provider has been in business for decades, a lack of experience with hotel communications can create problems down the road. Hospitality relies on multiple simultaneous communication processes to run smoothly, a need your provider should fully understand when implementing your new system. When considering each option, don’t be afraid to ask about their hospitality VoIP experience. The more prepared your provider is, the better the installation and future use will go.
2. Call volume capacity
With so many calls coming in and out of your hotel, it’s vital to find a system that can easily handle your call volume. As you look at different options, carefully check the call capacity and bandwidth options. To avoid having to upgrade your system for future growth, also look for systems that can scale with your needs. With everything you handle, the last thing you want is lost revenue due to your phone system.
3. System costs
While you need to find a system within your budget, it’s also important to remember that your hotel VoIP system benefits you for a lifetime and should be treated as an investment. Don’t settle for a cheaper system that won’t meet your future needs. Instead, spend a little more now to save far more in upgrading costs down the road.
4. VoIP features for hotels
To avoid getting distracted by cool features, decide which capabilities you want before you shop. Know what you want to offer guests and what you need for your staff. Most important, know what you’re willing to compromise on. If you find a system that meets most of your criteria, this will help you decide if the missing components are a dealbreaker.
As you make your hotel the place to be, VoIP communications offer the tools you need to improve communications for guests and staff alike. For more information on how IPFone can provide the solution you need, explore our Hospitality VoIP services or contact us at 855-464-7366.