upward shot of tall buildings and the sky

Industry Update: Looking Ahead at the Next Six Months

The hotel industry is famous for being a little behind the times when it comes to technology, but modern consumers aren’t as patient about outdated communications systems as they used to be. Today’s travelers want the best and most current options, and it’s your job to keep up.

Updating your technology will keep your guests happy, make your hotel staff more efficient, and future-proof your communications for new developments and legislation. Here are some things to keep an eye on in the world of hotel communications.

Staff Alert Systems

There are a lot of ways that a digital PBX system can help your hotel staff communicate with your guests and with each other. One of the most useful is staff alert systems. Checking in and checking out is a prime example — guests hate it when they arrive at a hotel and can’t drop off their bags until 4:00 p.m. They want to go out and see the sights without lugging their suitcases with them!

With an updated PBX system, you can alert your housekeeping staff the second a guest checks out, allowing them to turn your rooms around for the next guest faster than ever. You can also set up a digital “do not disturb” sign, saving your housekeeping staff from wasting their time walking down long hallways, knocking on every door.

The same can be done for maintenance, room service, wake-up calls, and any other guest services that you offer. If your internal systems are digitized, you can make everything far more efficient, streamlined, and convenient for both you and your guests.

New 911 Laws

In 2018, two new laws passed that change the way hotels handle emergency calls. The first is the Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services (RAY BAUM’S) Act, which requires that 911 calls from inside an MLTS (like at a hotel or office building) automatically pass along “dispatchable location” — including street address, floor level, and room number of the caller — to first responders so they can find the caller as quickly as possible.

The second is Kari’s Law, which mandates that guests be able to reach 911 without dialing an extension to reach an outside line. It also includes a provision that the front desk receives a notification if someone in the building calls 911.

The law took effect in February of 2020, so anyone who manages, sells, or leases an MLTS will have to be able to comply. With a VoIP system from Phonesuite, your system will be fully compliant with this and any future legislation. If you haven’t upgraded yet, now’s the time!

How 5G Will Affect Your Hotel

5G is the latest generation of cell phone coverage, the successor to 4G LTE from companies like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. Mobile data speeds will be up to 10 times what’s currently possible. So what does this mean for your hotel technology?

  • People will expect your hotel’s wi-fi to keep up. Guests are going to want to browse the web, stream Netflix and other video services, order food, and all the other conveniences they’ve gotten used to at home. If your wi-fi isn’t as fast as they’re accustomed to, they’ll complain. You should be able to offer speeds of at least 8 Mbps for optimum performance.
  • 5G uses a higher frequency of wireless, which means it will be more easily blocked by building materials. It won’t penetrate well into internal rooms in your hotel, so there’s a good chance that your guests will have trouble making calls inside the building. As 5G becomes more prevalent, you should consider installing boosters in your hotel.

5G won’t replace wi-fi — guests will expect not to pay for data while they stay with you — but it will raise the bar for the convenience, speed, and versatility that your guests will expect you to provide.

The Internet of Things

The “internet of things” (IoT) refers to all the devices connected to the internet that aren’t computers, cell phones, tablets, and other similar devices. This might refer to lightbulbs, plugs, switches, smart speakers, thermostats, doorbells, cameras, smoke detectors, and even appliances like coffee makers!

As you can imagine, a hotel might contain hundreds if not thousands of these devices. In fact, according to one 2019 survey, seventy percent of hospitality executives say that they have an active IoT project in their hotels.

One of the biggest reasons that hotel execs are pursuing IoT devices in their hotels is to enhance the guest experience. Occupancy sensors can let housekeeping know when your guests have left the room for the day so they can clean it. Smart luggage carts and connected room service trays can broadcast their location so that you can keep track of them. You can even automatically turn down the heat and turn the lights off in rooms that aren’t occupied, all from the front desk!

Keeping up with the Times

Hotel technology will always be shifting and changing, and smart hoteliers will have to keep up to keep their hotel appealing and compelling. A digital PBX system from Phonesuite is one of the simplest steps you can take to upgrade your hotel systems, provide a better experience for your guests, and make your staff more empowered and efficient. Curious about what an upgrade can do for you? Get in touch today!