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The Shift to Cloud Communications in the Hospitality Sector

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Good communication at the heart of every successful hotel?
Get Hosted Hospitality PBX to ensure that.

Good communication is at the heart of every successful hotel. And whether you’re a small hotel, a global hotel conglomerate, a famous luxury establishment or a boutique B&B, it should be one of your most important considerations.

If you haven’t done so already, investigating options to get a PBX installed at your establishment should be a key priority. If you’re an old establishment, it’s going to be a bit trickier as you’ll be challenged with an existing system which no doubt makes your newly renovated room look like something out of Bates Motel! We call this a legacy PBX. But if you’re new, or have just done a refurb, and there’s nothing in place yet, then it will be easier to get your PBX set up and running.

Why is choosing an efficient PBX system such an important task?

Well, it’s going to have a huge impact on:

  • Reliability

When dealing with guests, everything matters. Guests are not going to be very forgiving when they can’t get through to Reception to request an eviction from the non-paying rodent in the bathroom.

  • Voice Quality

Being able to hear and understand your guest’s requests is critical. Imagine your guests surprise when they request room service over the phone, and your staff turn up at their door with a broom in hand.

  • Scalability

There’s no doubt your main objective is growth. So, you’ll need to make sure you have a PBX system in place that’s flexible when it comes to adding additional rooms and phones (without having to go through the pain of replacing your PBX system each time).

  • Top notch features

If you’re going to stand out amongst the competition, make sure you implement a system with world-class features.  Features which will not only make your guests stay more pleasant, but also features which will enable you to increase the operational efficiency of your staff.

  • Management

It will reduce heavy CAPEX expenditure. Instead, you’ll have a far more manageable as-a-Service OPEX model.

  • Centralisation

With an efficient PBX system, you can centralise PBX control, billing, management and standards.

  • Property Management System (PMS) Integration

Your new system must allow for seamless integration into your hotels existing PMS system. This is a key aspect of ensuring a seamless experience for your guests.  There is nothing worse than having to log into separate systems to manage things like wakeup calls – this must be done from your central PMS system.

So what are the challenges when choosing your new PBX system?

As we mentioned earlier, if you’re moving from an existing system, to a new one – there are going to be some challenges and teething problems.
Chances are, as your establishment has grown over the years, you’ve accumulated a whole host of legacy PBX’s, often different models with lots of software versions, and, even worse, multi-vendors and support contracts!

The problem with continuing with this way of working, is that it no doubt comes with a high cost for maintaining this infrastructure, and on top of that, it’s inability to integrate into your PMS system.

How is Hosted Hospitality PBX system going to help?

By making the move, it will eliminate and assist in mitigating many of your establishment’s risks:

  • Reliability

There’s so much choice out there when it comes to cloud telephony providers. It can be quite confusing! To help choose the right provider, you should think about the following:

    • Make sure that the provider you choose is running on a rock-solid, highly resilient Cloud PBX platform.
    • Find out which vendor the service provider is using for the underlying Cloud PBX offering… make sure you check out their track record too! The vendor’s background is just as important as your new service provider. One cannot operate without the other!
    • Also, you must check out the provider’s track record for operating a carrier-grade Cloud PBX platform. Don’t be afraid to ask them direct questions and ask for references.
  • Voice Quality

You need to have a provider who understands how to prioritise Voice over data protocols. They need to understand the reasons for doing it this way, as well as the mechanics on how to do it. For example, if your voice traffic runs over the same link as your guest Wi-Fi WITHOUT Quality of Service (QoS)… both yourself, as the establishment manager, and the guests (using the Wi-Fi) are going to get a poor service.

  • Scalability

Your new provider should give you the functionality to ‘scale up’ (so add rooms and telephones) but also allow you to ‘ramp up’ new hotels without massive CAPEX investment and IT complexities.

  • PMS

Once you’ve chosen your new Cloud PBX provider, your next step is to integrate it into your existing PMS system. Following this, you can then really start to open up what you can offer to your guests in terms of services. Whilst there are some basic features like wakeup calls and mini-bar replenishment and billing via the room phone, some more advanced features will allow you to start offering your guests the ability to receive their in-room voice mails in their email inbox for the duration of their stay.

  • Top Notch Features

Now that you have your new Cloud PBX provider implemented, you can take advantage of all the technology enhancements. These allow for better features within the Cloud PBX, and you’ll have direct access to these.

Seeing the benefits of PBX?

Well, you can take it a step further by centralising all your IT infrastructure into ‘The Cloud’
– It will allow you to control your budget and telephone spend more accurately.

What else should you consider?

If you’re going to go the full hog, then you should consider implementing a PMS system that will integrate into your new Hosted Hospitality PBX system.

It will benefit you massively! For the following reasons:

  • Enable in-room guest features (like wake-up calls, voicemails to emails).
  • Manage voice technology and services for financial returns.
  • Provide Centrally Hosted Call Accounting Services.
  • Provide Call Accounting Services for VOIP.
  • Personalise Phone Pricing for Groups, Guests, and Loyalty Programs.
  • Provide Virtual Prepay Phone Services to Groups and Guests
  • Centralise Your Monitoring and Management of Voice.
  • Audit Telecommunications Costs and Revenues.
  • Improve the Productivity and Effectiveness of Telecommunications Audits
  • Converge Your Pricing for Voice and Internet Services.
  • Reduce the number of call accounting systems you manage.
  • Optimize Your Carrier Relationship.
  • Provide Guest Pricing Transparency.
  • Provide in room guest features.

Now who do you choose to be your Hosted Hospitality PBX provider?

While there are many providers out there, you need to go with one you can trust. Saicom is a leading VoIP provider, and one of the largest in the country. Since 1995, Saicom has become a household name in the South African Telecommunications Market.

We’ve mentioned that it’s challenging to integrate a new PBX system into an already established legacy system, however, here at Saicom, we’ll make the transition as easy as possible for you.

We’ve successfully rolled out cloud-based, scalable voice solutions to some of the largest call centres around South Africa. We will focus on understanding your business and provide customised advice and support to suit your establishment’s specific needs.

Give us a call today 010-140-5000 or leave an enquiry and we’ll get back to you.

Post written by Greg de Chasteauneuf
Chief Technology Officer (CTO) – Saicom Voice Services