When was the last time you made an outside call from a hotel phone system? It used to be a lucrative source of income for hotels but those days belong to another age. Everyone uses their own mobile phone now.
HELLO, ROOM SERVICE
Residents still want the phone system to be there for them. They need it for room service, to enquire about breakfast times, or get the Wi-Fi code – and the rest. Hotel staff are still expected to have all the answers whenever guests need to reach them.
Far from seeing their phones as a declining source of revenue, enterprising hotels are exploiting them as a means of keeping residents on their premises for longer. Attractive screens, informative menus and service drop-downs may persuade a resident to try the hotel facilities rather than venturing out.
Which system provides the best experience for the customer – and the hotel?
A FIVE-STAR PHONE UPGRADE?
Hotels are keenly aware of how their telephony can vastly influence the customer experience.
Many are now ditching their outdated PBX legacy networks for faster, flexible, cloud-based systems. Cloud telephony presents hospitality managers with new opportunities to enhance customer service, improve operating efficiency and reduce telephony costs. VoIP phone systems do away with cables and cabinets for a more streamlined service in every sense.
The cost savings on cloud systems are so great that any standard of hotel can upgrade to a Five-Star phone platform for an Economy rate.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A HOTEL PHONE SYSTEM
Choosing a new hotel phone system will depend on a number of factors.
Obvious ones include how many users you have and how many calls you expect to make. You will also need to consider future growth plans, and whether there’s an extra charge for adding or removing users.
If you have been used to paying high maintenance charges then these will be less of an issue. Cloud-based systems do not require the same level of support as traditional exchange-based options. It’s much cheaper to fix an issue remotely than having to send out an engineer.
How long will it take to train staff on the new system? Again, be pleasantly surprised. Unlike the old days, you won’t need to book the seminar room for a month to get everyone on board. VoIP phone systems are easy to use and light years ahead as far as training is concerned. Intuitive computer interfaces and self-teach online modules make e-learning instantly accessible to all.
There is one big question you will need to ask of your phone provider. Will the new phone system work with the hotel’s existing Property Management System (PMS)? If not, move on. No hotel will want to change its PMS to accommodate a new phone platform.
Handling everything from reservations and billing to guest services, the PMS is to a great extent the nerve centre of any hotel. From it, a hotel can manage its entire operations – cleaning, room service, special requests, card charges and more. It seems only right that the phone system should fit the PMS, not the other way round.
The best phone systems for hotels should integrate seamlessly with the PMS. In the past that might have meant finding complex bridging solutions to provide a wired link to the telephone cable box on the premises. How things are changing. With the emergence of software-based phone solutions, connecting a PMS with a new cloud telephony PBX is simple. Often it means no more than uploading a programme onto a PC. You don’t even need to host the system on-site anymore either. Your telecoms provider will be more than willing to offer a hosted phone solution.
And the most advanced software phone solutions will do most of the work for you anyway.
3CX HOTEL PHONE SYSTEM – PMS INTEGRATION
Among the most innovative phone solutions, one that really seems to have done its homework on the hospitality sector is 3CX. Supporting a wide range of hotel software systems puts 3CX above most rivals. An ever-growing list of compatible partners currently includes InnQuest RoomMaster 2000, Protel, Brilliant Hotelsoftware and Micros-Fidelio.
As a partner for 3CX Conversation Piece can help hotels of any size to configure 3CX. Right now the 3CX Hotel Module can integrate with your PMS system in one of two ways:
BENEFITS OF 3CX FOR HOTELS
Leading hotel groups are discovering how 3CX enables them to add that personal touch to create a better customer experience.
The Hotel Module within the 3CX Phone System displays the guest name on reception, room service and management phones. Staff can download a softphone app onto a mobile device, so they can go about their daily tasks but remain available if guests need to reach them. As hotels have to respond to the pandemic, then other options, which limit contact, are also being explored. Through 3CX, hoteliers can set up Direct-to-room billing, plus Phone check-in/check-out.
Housekeeping teams can relay a guest’s room status through their phones. Guests themselves can set wake-up calls and Do Not Disturb directly from their phone, automating a process that otherwise eats up valuable seconds for staff.