It seems like new hotels, motels, or inns are being constructed at every major intersection or development in the State of Florida; and if they are not entirely new, then older properties are renovating and making additions to their facilities. So, when a new hotel is being constructed or an existing one renovated, what sort of choices should be made for the room telephones? While the whole telecom world is excited about VoIP and the benefits that offers for the business office, is that technology relevant in the guest room or for a guest experience?

Analog guest room phones

For many decades, room telephones for hotels have been analog. Even today, most properties utilize analog telephones for the guest rooms and courtesy areas as the functions provided adequately address the needs in a standard space. Additionally, analog telephones can run off Cat3, Cat5, or Cat5e cables, which are the dominant types of cable installed in commercial properties since at least 1995 and remain as such. Data needs for WiFi or data jacks, of course, have advanced to a place that they use a minimum of Cat5e, however most flags require Cat 6 or fiber. This means that existing properties can reuse their cable that is already in place and simply replace the room phones, as a group or as they age and stop working. Most analog room telephones have a variety of speed dial or function buttons available which can be programmed for features such as wake up, voice mail, front desk, or room service. Additionally, they generally have a section where pre- printed information such as how to make calls or important local numbers or hotel information can be displayed. Below is an example of a typical analog room telephone from the manufacturer Teledex.

Teledex is not the only manufacturer of analog phones, of course. Others includeSynectics, Telematrix and Vtech. Options available on analog sets include customizable faceplates, slimline (sleek) new footprints and even cordless handsets.

Typical features of analog room phones include:

  • Available in 1 or 2-line cordless configurations
  • Speakerphone
  • Additional remote handsets available in 1 or 2-line
  • OneTouch voice mail retrieval technology
  • 5 or 10 programmable guest service keys
  • Compatible with all major PABX systems (since they are analog)
  • 3-way conference calling (2-line models only)
  • Data port (generally 10/100 speeds)
  • Choices of 1.8 GHz, 1.9 GHz, or 2.4 GHz frequency
  • Full-length customizable faceplates
  • Commercial grade construction
  • Non-slip base
  • Available in Beige (sometimes called Ash) or Black (sometimes called Graphite) and some manufacturers offer a Silver version.

VoIP telephones for the guest room

Even though analog telephones have dominated the market for guest rooms, VoIP is steadily chipping away at that. What advantages does VoIP offer over analog for the guest experience and why would it be considered? To begin with, the phones are often much more “flashy” than analog, offering large color screens which can display a range of different information such as logos, weather, scenic backdrops, and many other functions as well. For the price, they are about 2x more than a standard analog telephone. This additional cost can be offset, however, by the fact that VoIP can share a cable with the data connection in the room, eliminating an expensive cable run per room in new builds. Most of the same manufacturers of analog phones also make VoIP versions, including V-Tech, Teledex, &Telematrix.

A brief list of typical VoIP guest room features includes:

  • Available in 1 or 2-line cordless configurations
  • Speakerphone
  • Additional remote handsets available in 1 or 2-line
  • OneTouch voice mail retrieval technology
  • 5 or 10, or other quantity programmable guest service keys
  • Compatible with all major PABX systems (typically SIP protocols are used)
  • 3-way conference calling (2-line models only)
  • Convenient data port
  • Choose 1.8 GHz, 1.9 GHz, or 2.4 GHz frequency
  • Full-length customizable faceplates
  • Commercial grade construction with matte finish
  • Non-slip base
  • As with analog models, they are typically available in Ash,Silver, or Black

Expanding Guest Satisfaction

Hotel/ motel guests are ever more demanding from their hosts, as any property manager could agree. Fortunately, new VoIP and analog room telephones have unique and innovative ways in increasing guest satisfaction. VoIP phones can have dynamic screens programmed to show welcome messages, beautiful scenes from the property or nearby attractions, the weather, news… the list goes on; while analog phones offer a range of traditional features and functions in sleek new designs.

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