a woman wearing a white top smiling while holding a phone behind a hotel front desk

Keeping With The Times: Tapping Into Hotel Phone Tech Today

It’s the 21st century — hotels, along with every other industry, are modernizing quickly. But it’s not just high-speed internet, voice assistants in every room, and mobile apps for hotel chains that are revolutionizing the business. The humble telephone is making leaps and bounds forward as well.

Here are a few trends in hotel communication technology to keep an eye on.

Using Your Phone As A Key

The old days of metal door keys are all but gone — they’re unreliable, hard to copy, and easy to lose. Most hotels have switched to a plastic key card that can instantly be assigned to any room or granted access to elevators, restaurants, front doors, and hotel facilities. The next evolution of those cards was RFID chips, such that the card doesn’t even need to be inserted into the door lock to open it.

Now, the latest and greatest in keys is NFC (near-field communication) technology. Virtually all smartphones these days have NFC antennas in them, used for payment and short-range communication. With new hotel apps, guests can instantly convert their phone into a room key, enabling them to go straight to their room and unlock it without ever having to visit the front desk.

Automating Every Process

When a guest has a serious problem or needs to place a complex order, there’s no replacement for the human touch. But most of your guests’ needs are much less complicated. They just need to check in, check out, and order room service.

With today’s technology, all of those processes can be automated. Guests can check in and out through kiosks, mobile apps, or phone trees without ever needing to occupy your hotel staff’s time, freeing them up for more important interactions. In some hotels, guests can even order room service online and specify which room they’d like it delivered to.

Check On All Your Network Components

The internet speed coming into your building won’t make any difference if your infrastructure isn’t ready to handle it. Often times, simply upgrading key network components can make a huge difference in the speed and reliability of your VoIP setup.

Switches are used to distribute internet connections from the main modem to the various machines that use it, but low-quality or low-bandwidth switches can ruin an otherwise high-quality connection. Getting your network hardware up to date and prepared for your hotel’s needs will save you a lot of hassle in the long run. Before you go through with installation, get a site survey done by a qualified expert.

Powerful App Integration

Mobile apps aren’t just for finding and booking rooms any more. Hotels have a vested interest in keeping their guests using their app ecosystem as much as possible, so they’re adding more and more features to make those apps as useful as possible.

In addition to using those apps to unlock their rooms and order room service, guests can use their phones to adjust the thermostat, change the channel on the TV, and open and close the blinds.

The app has become a unified hub for deal notifications, loyalty programs, booking meeting spaces, and communicating with other guests. If you book a block of rooms for a conference or a wedding, you can even use the app to send updates to everyone involved in your event.

You Can’t Have Enough Bandwidth

If you’re setting up a VoIP system, you’ll need to dedicate at least 100 kbps (kilobits per second) to each phone line, but that’s a drop in the bucket when it comes to the 21st-century guest’s data needs. If your guests want to watch Netflix, they’ll want another 1.5 Mbps (megabits per second) for each connection — sometimes that means multiple streams per room. A similar amount of bandwidth should be dedicated to browsing, since photos and videos can take up a lot of data as well.

In a 2017 article, Hotel Management recommends at least 2 Mbps per room, but as you can see from the numbers above, 10 Mbps per room wouldn’t go amiss. In a hotel with 100 rooms, that’s at least a gigabit of bandwidth at a bare minimum, and that number will only rise with the number of connected devices in your rooms.

High-Tech Meeting Spaces

If your hotel wants to play host to business trips and conferences, you can’t just put a dozen chairs around a table and call it a conference center any more. Modern business needs more technology than just a conference phone.

In many new hotel business centers, hotels are offering high-speed internet, the ability to broadcast a laptop onto a projector screen, and even video-conferencing. All of that means more infrastructure and, yes, more bandwidth — but it’s worth it. In some cases, you’ll even attract the attention of small businesses in your own city who need a more high-tech meeting space than they have in their own offices.

Technology Is a Moving Target

You’ll never be able to predict exactly where technology trends are going. The best you can do is to be as flexible as possible. With a VoIP system, your communications will be set up to add new features, new lines, and expanded bandwidth, no matter what the future of hotel communication throws at you.

For a consultation and estimate, contact us at Phonesuite today!