Everything You Need to Know About Hotel Communications Solutions
When your hotel was just starting out, there was a time when you could get away with a single business phone number that rang the front desk. With the progress of phone technology and your guests’ expectations, that’s no longer a viable option.
As your hotel grows, you’ll need to be able to handle multiple calls at once. You’ll want the ability to separate your incoming calls by department, forwarding them to the spa, restaurant, business center, and individual rooms with incredible ease.
With a communications solution based on voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) technology, upgrading your hotel’s phone system to a modern, versatile system is easier than ever. Here’s what you need to know.
What type of communication solutions are available?
A communications solution is any phone system that allows your hotel to field more than one call at the same time. You can place calls on hold, dial internal or external numbers, then return to the original call.
The versatility afforded by a communications solution is vital to any hotel. Without the ability to divert calls internally, place multiple callers on hold or forward them to another staff member, or place multiple outgoing calls at once, your hotel’s ability to scale will be severely hindered.
There are two main ways that a communications solution can be installed:
- On-premise: an on-premise system requires that your hotel purchase, install, and maintain your own telecom equipment. Typically, this equipment takes the form of a private branch exchange (PBX). They require significant technical expertise to assemble, set up, and maintain.
- A cloud-based communications system is the more popular, modern option for most hotels and other large businesses. The software for a cloud-based system is hosted entirely in the cloud, which allows you to add and remove unlimited phone lines in addition to many other useful features.
In addition to the added flexibility, a cloud-based system allows you to avoid the significant capital expenditure of buying your own equipment, instead opting for a much more tenable and consistent monthly operating expenditure. Cloud systems also come with an ongoing maintenance and service plan.
Advantages of communication solutions
A communication system offers far more than just multiple telephone extensions. Features will vary between providers, but there are a few top features that you’ll want to include in your communications system:
- Auto attendant: switchboard operators are a thing of the past, so why is your front desk still diverting every call that comes in? An auto attendant allows callers to choose an extension by dialing it on their keypad, reducing wait times and conveying an image of professionalism.
- Call hold: call hold will let you pause a call so that you can converse with a colleague or find additional information. Call parking is similar, but with the added benefit that someone else can pick up the call that you put on hold. This allows you to forward calls to someone better equipped to answer them, ensuring that every caller’s question is handled quickly and professionally.
- Call analytics/reporting: examining and drawing insights from your call data is an important tool in growing your business. Knowing where your customers are calling from, how often they’re booking, what they’re looking for, and what they like about your hotel can help you fill gaps in your marketing efforts and bring in new guests.
- Call forwarding: with a communications system, you can transfer calls to any phone number or device, including voicemail, cordless handsets, home phones, or cell phones. This allows you to stay reachable no matter what time it is, what time zone you are in, or where you are. You can even enable find-me/follow-me software that sends a call automatically to the right person, no matter where they are at that moment.
- Call routing: call routing is a feature that allows you to forward your unassigned incoming calls to the right staff member based on any set of criteria you define, including call time, caller ID, and auto attendant selections. Common practices include:
○ Round robin: distributing calls equally to available staff
○ Regular: calls are answered chronologically
○ Uniform: calls go to whoever’s been available the longest
○ Simultaneous: all your phones ring, and whoever answers first takes the call
○ Weighted: you choose a ratio that determines how calls are distributed
- PMS integration: a property management system (PMS) tool can be an enormous help to your company. It will allow you to track the key information about each customer, including location, room preferences, billing information, and more. When you integrate your PMS with the on-screen interface of your VoIP software, you can enable popup screens that show you all of a guest’s relevant information the moment the phone rings.
- Staying Compliant with new 911 Dialing Laws
○ One of the biggest advantages of having a communication solution offered by Phonesuite is that your system will be future proof, meaning any time new regulations or laws come into play such as Kari’s Law or RAY BAUM’s ACT, your property will be compliant.
The Phone System of the Future
If your hotel isn’t using a hospitality communication solution by Phonesuite, now’s the time to consider it. A modern communications solution, powered by Voiceware will offer any hotel of any size the flexibility, scalability, and efficiency to offer their guests the best possible experience. In addition to more advanced features, your hotel will be much more capable of staying compliant with new regulations and standards in the telephony world. If you’re ready to upgrade your phone system, talk to Phonesuite today!