Phone systems make up the backbone of customer service and sales for the hospitality industry. Today, you can supplement that with internet and online booking systems. However, hotels of every size still need phone systems. Even enterprise hotels benefit from cheap, versatile phones. A good hotel phone system enables employees to take calls, make changes to reservations, and contact each other. In most cases, you’ll also want internal lines, so rooms can call in to customer service.
Here, the internet is still the best way to go. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) hotel phone systems are affordable, scalable, and versatile. In other cases, you’ll want to combine VoIP with traditional PBX systems, so you get the best of both worlds. There are plenty of hotel phone system suppliers offering both options together.
The table below gives a quick price comparison of the top US providers for hotel phone systems.
|Company||Starting Monthly Price*|
*These prices were accurate at the time of writing this article in July 2021. Figures are sourced from the official company websites. Please keep in mind that businesses shown may change their rates. In addition, this may not be a direct like-for-like comparison as each hotel phone system package or plan may be slightly different. This table should be used as a starting point for your own research.
Below we profile each of the companies’ services and features in a bit more detail.
Note: Companies are ranked in no particular order and this no way indicates one solution is better than another.
Mitel launched in 1973 as a hospitality phone system service delivering PBX. Today, the organization relies almost entirely on VoIP but remains one of the largest and best in the business.
- Full-service customer service solution
- Provides VoIP with digital PBX services
- Built on Google Cloud
- Integrated support for 4-288 rooms
- Dozens of hardware options including desk phones, soft-touch phones, and mobile phones
- Integrates into dozens of third-party apps for project and hotel management
- Cloud-based or on-site hosted solutions
Ooma launched in 2009 and has gone on to be a favorite small hotel phone system supplier. In fact, Ooma integrates backend systems, phones, and call forwarding for an all-in-one system.
- Call forwarding / Smartphone to main line connections
- Call recording
- Internal lines / call forwarding across lines
- Caller ID/ Caller Info match inside system
- Integration with backend and booking systems
- Customizable call flows with virtual receptionist
- Call conferencing
- Extension monitoring and call parking
RingCentral delivers scalable solutions for hotels and motels of every size. Additionally, RingCentral is probably the best hotel telephone system for organizations with remote customer service. For example, if customer service works from home, RingCentral is a perfect solution.
- Business and Toll-Free numbers
- Unlimited calling
- Virtual document and contract sharing
- Team messaging
- Dozens of integrations into back-end applications
- Conferencing and video conferencing capabilities (also for guests)
- Unlimited extensions with site codes
Vonage started out as a residential VoIP provider. Today, it also supplies a modern hotel phone service perfect for those with smartphones and tablets. Plus, with international support, it’s a great solution even for large hotels.
- Digital app for phone and tablet
- Unlimited calling with every plan
- Call recording
- CRM integration
- Multi-level call workflows with auto receptionist
- Toll-free numbers
- Call forwarding
Nextiva brings a hotel telephone system together with chat, AI, and analytics. The cloud-based telephone provider is also one of the highest-rated services in the U.S.
- Toll-free numbers
- Virtual assistant with multi-step call flows
- Remote work supported
- Mobile app
- Integrated team management
- Call analytics for customer service
- Conference calling
Cisco is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. In addition to their wireless hotel phone system, they also offer WIFI, security, servers, and nearly every other technical installation you might need. However, due to their high costs, Cisco is best suited to large and complex installations.
- A full suite of hardware solutions
- Nearly unlimited scalability
- International and long-distance support
- Caller ID and redial
- Dozens of integrations
- A complete Hotel Suite solution with WIFI, calling, and smart rooms
- Internal collaboration tools
3CX is probably the lowest-cost hotel telephone system on the market. In fact, it’s the only major provider offering a year free for small business users. However, that does not include hardware.
- On premise or cloud installation and hosting
- Unlimited extensions
- Select your own SIP trunk
- Auto receptionist
- CRM & digital tooling integrations
- Call queues
- Call analytics & reporting
Phonesuite is one of the few VoIP solutions designed as a phone system for hotels. In fact, they do not cater to any other industry.
- Managed voice cloud platform
- Cloud or on-premises installations and hosting available
- SIP trunking
- Auto-attendant with call flows
- Custom solutions for full-service and small hotels
- Corded or wireless phones available
- Internal lines supported
NEC delivers full-service customer management and communications for hotels. They also have a hospitality phone system that ties into backend systems and booking software.
- Custom hotel solutions
- Analog, digital, and mixed systems available
- Room booking solutions
- Internal network calls with custom room calling rates available
- Up to 512 phones per system
- Up to 120 rooms per system
- Integrated customer management
- Licensing costs scale to number of rooms
Hotel Phone System Benefits
Hotel phone system solutions make the necessity of having available phone lines much easier. Modern VoIP systems are also affordable compared to traditional PBX systems.
VoIP systems often start at around $25 to $50 per user. That means you can significantly reduce costs over a traditional PBX. While larger VoIP telephone systems for hotels will still cost more, many will cost less. The result is that you can add dozens of lines and features, even if you couldn’t afford them with a traditional system. For example, some experts suggest you should budget $800-$1200 per employee for a PBX system. With VoIP, that falls to $50-$150.
VoIP systems are largely only limited by your server. That means it’s easy to scale up when needed. That holds true whether you choose a cloud-hosted or self-hosted system. However, the complexities vary considerably. Most VoIP systems support anywhere from one to more than 300 phones, which is more than enough for most hotels.
In addition, cloud systems allow you to link different locations. That means you get central management for customer service and booking across locations.
VoIP telephone systems for hotels offer full PBX features, without the cost or complexity. Many also offer significantly more features. For example, many include digital receptionists. You might also get direct integration into rooms or calling rates for customers using internal lines. These features vary significantly depending on the supplier, so it’s always important to check them.
Integrations into Back-end Systems
Most telephone systems for hotels directly integrate into CMS and even booking systems. Some also include booking systems. That means customer requests log directly into the system. Plus, you can more easily link callers to room registrations and documents.
Fax and Document Management
Many hotels appreciate that their phone system offers document support. This allows guests to text, fax, or upload necessary documents, so they can just check in when they arrive with no additional hassle.
Call analytics can be extremely useful for gauging business data. For example, if you can see how long support calls take, you know how to set metrics. If you track calls, you can see how many are received and handled by each person. You can also monitor for quality using some features like call recording. These features require high-end additional software with a PBX system.
Nearly all VoIP hospitality phone systems include conferencing solutions. Often, you can add anywhere from 40 to 100 people onto a single call. While that’s less useful for the hotel employees, it’s very useful for guests. For example, it means you can add video and phone conferencing solutions to business meeting rooms. That can be a huge unique selling proposition for some.
VoIP solutions make it easy to add internal lines so guests can call customer service or other rooms. Some also allow you to set up multi-location systems within one room.
Digital receptionists and call workflows can greatly reduce the burden on your customer support. For example, call waiting allows you to automatically direct callers to a separate line with a greeting when all receptionists are busy. You can also offer a call flow, so customers can ask for specific types of support before talking to a receptionist.
Minimized System Maintenance
PBX systems require having an expert on-staff to maintain the hardware. Most VoIP systems do not. While your IT department will have some extra work if you choose to self-host, it will be minimal; that means lowered in-house costs as well.
A good hotel phone system is fully customizable. You can set it up based on rooms, adding branding, and choosing which features you want. Many service providers deliver modular services, so you can build your own package. That means nearly any features you want are available and often for only a slight increase in costs.
If you’re looking to improve customer serve and reduce the load on employees, a telephone system can help. The best hotel phone systems are normally VoIP. Otherwise, you’ll have to compare options based on pricing, features, and installation options. You may also want to consider factors such as hardware and phones. For example, some hotel phone services offer their own telephones. Others are usable on a wide range of hardware. Eventually, the best option is the one that best suits your hotel.