A woman smiling while on the phone and writing something down on a piece of paper next to a man in a grey suit siting at a computer, both behind a hotel desk

Everything You Need to Know About SIP Trunkings

According to Transparency Market Research, the SIP trunk services market is exploding. The global market for SIP trunk services might grow as much as 13% per year until 2030 and reach $35 billion in total market value. SIP trunks have been changing the way that companies and individuals communicate in all walks of life, and hotels are no exception. If you’re thinking about transitioning your hotel to a SIP trunk system, here’s what you need to know.

What are SIP Trunks?

SIP stands for session initiation protocol, and it’s a method for sending voice over the internet. For the last 120 years or so, phone lines have been primarily based on analog copper wires that branched across the country and ended in the sockets in your walls. Those terminals were called “trunks,” and each one corresponded to a specific phone number.

SIP trunks, by contrast, are entirely virtual and don’t correspond to a particular location or piece of hardware. When a user places a phone call, a session is initiated that connects to another phone number and sends voice data back and forth.

As you can imagine, virtual trunks add an enormous level of versatility to your hotel’s communications. Since any number can ring at any location, you can send the front desk phone to a wandering manager, answer guest calls from a remote location, or automatically move the main number for the hotel depending on local time zones.

The Difference Between SIP Trunks and Analog Trunks

The main advantage of analog trunks is stability — some analog phones don’t even require power, allowing you to connect to emergency services or other lines in the event of a total power outage. 

SIP trunks, on the other hand, run over your internet connection, so they require both electricity and a stable internet connection. With the ubiquity of broadband connections these days, a high-speed internet connection isn’t hard to come by, but there are a few rare cases when an analog phone is more reliable or even required such as emergency fire panel connections.

How Much Bandwidth Do You Need For SIP Trunks?

In order for SIP trunks to run smoothly, you need to plan for the maximum number of calls your hotel will need to handle at any given time. Your phones will be sharing bandwidth with the rest of your hotel’s internet activity, so you’ll want a fast connection to ensure optimal call quality.

Luckily, phone calls use very little data. If all 250 extensions in your hotel were being used simultaneously, you’d still only use about 25 megabits per second of bandwidth — roughly the same as a single Ultra HD Netflix stream. Given the internet speeds available in most hotels (and the unlikelihood of so many simultaneous phone calls), your VoIP calls will likely be a tiny fraction of your total bandwidth needs.

Track your call traffic during the busiest days of the year as a reference point, and then plan for higher usage than that. It’s always best to leave extra headroom than to compromise on bandwidth.

The Benefits of SIP Trunks For Hotels

A digital PBX system, powered by VoIP technology and using SIP trunks to create a powerful, flexible, high-tech solution that integrates all the hotel’s departments, will provide the best possible guest experience. Here are just a few of the benefits that SIP trunks can bring to your hotel.

  • Cost: SIP trunk systems over VoIP connections offer significant savings over analog systems. Long-distance calling is a particular area where cost savings are realized, so if your hotel has a lot of international guests, you’ll see significant savings.
  • Flexibility: as we mentioned above, SIP trunks offer you the ability to move phone lines from one location to another, add new lines, or add and remove lines seamlessly. If your hotel adds new facilities, new staff, or moves headquarters, you can instantly generate fully functional phone numbers that can be answered from anywhere.
  • Quality: analog phone lines are affected by distance, the quality of the copper wire, nearby electrical activity, and even solar activity, resulting in deteriorated voice quality. On a digital system, you only need a strong internet connection for clear call quality.
  • Unified communications: modern hotel guests use emails, text messages, apps, and interactions through your website to make and update bookings. Your phone records should be unified with every other form of communication through a PMS (Property Management System) so that you can keep track of all guest information, no matter where it came from.

Getting Started With SIP Trunks

If you’re ready to get started with SIP trunks, Phonesuite can help. Our phone systems are designed exclusively for hotels, and we’ve installed them in more than 6,500 hotels in the last 30 years. Phonesuite has a large group of certified resellers ready to examine your hotel’s existing systems, needs, and priorities to design a system that adds functionality and saves you money. Curious about the cost? Talk to Phonesuite today!