HOTEL / COTTAGES INTERNET TECHNOLOGY
HOTEL / COTTAGES INTERNET TECHNOLOGY
Applications - technologies that we can implemented for tourism industry include:
Online reservation system - Website intergrated - simple, eficient! Can Manage your rental units and properties simply and effectively through our booking software. Website module allows you to easily list details of your hotel, B&B, holiday cottage, villa, gite or other type of room you are offering. Online Reservation can present this information in a user friendly format to your website visitors. Online Reservation does not only display the advertisement for your property, it also allows website visitors to view reserved dates of each property/room with a comprehensive availability calendar ultimately allowing them to place their own, online room reservations, then secure their reservation by paying using the integrated PayPal functionality.
Wireless hot spot installations
Hardware / software phone systems implementation
Wireless / wired network/internet installations
integrated messaging, where guests can retrieve voice, text, fax and email messages through a single interface (which can be extended to the television set, or the guest’s PC, if the phone lacks an adequate display).
Automatic call forwarding and ‘follow-me’ capabilities, on the cottages/hotel network, to wireless devices within the cottages/hotel (great for key staff), and to the public network (such as to a guest’s mobile phone).
VOIP calling - flat rate - Video calling.
Personalized speed-dial directory for each guest, plus recall of numbers recently called or received.
Group-related functions, such as speed-dial directories for in-house guests who are part of the same group.
Pushbutton access to cottages/hotel departments, without the need to program each phone
Multimodal conference calls that can include webcasts, video and sharing of applications such as presentations or documents.
Instant text messaging with mobile phones, pagers, and other IP telephone devices
Streaming audio, such as web radio stations.
Delivery of relevant information to cottages/hotel staff (on their own handset display) when a guest calls a cottages/hotel department, including data stored in the guest profile (such as food and beverage preferences).
Display menus that allow a guest to order breakfast, to make a restaurant reservation, to set do-not-disturb, or to request laundry pickup.
Integration with room controls, allowing a guest to operate thermostats, drapes, call lights and electrical appliances from the telephone keypad and display, even saving their preferences for use on a future stay or in a different cottages/hotel.
Hospitality / Cottages industry using Voip applications are relatively low-value and might be offered for free as a service enhancement, while others offer some cost-saving opportunities in cottages/hotel vacation rental operations.
Others, however, represent substantial revenue opportunities for cottages/hotel/cottages, either through user fees or advertising or to earn referral commissions. Imagine an onscreen menu for local restaurant reservations that could confirm a table without human intervention – how much would nearby restaurants pay for that business? And while some of these applications require upgrades to equipment beyond the basic IP telephony infrastructure described above, many of them are available even in the most basic installations.
In addition to the revenue potential, IP telephony holds many opportunities for short- and long-term savings.
IP telephones can operate on the same data network as other guest-room devices, including televisions, high-speed internet access, minibars, energy controls, and door locks. One cable infrastructure is ultimately much cheaper to build and support than several. Retrofits can be, but are not necessarily, expensive; many cottages/hotels already have either coaxial cable for televisions, or CAT-5 network wire for high-speed internet, and it is technically possible to reuse either of these to support IP telephony in guest rooms.
Because IP telephone systems can share the same network with the PMS, point of sale, television, and other systems, they can very easily integrate with these systems to coordinate the guest experience or cottages/hotel operations. As an example, one integrator implemented a multi-modal wake-up call, initiated from an IP telephone. At the appointed time, it launched a guest-specified sequence of events that could include turning on and tuning a radio or television station, opening the drapes, turning off the do-not-disturb light in the hallway, turning up the thermostat, and turning on the coffee. This proof-of-concept was developed in a matter of days, and was a hit with cottages/hoteliers at a major trade show earlier this year.
cottages/hotels with good broadband connections can easily share the call-management software, support, and even PBX operator staff with other cottages/hotels. While the network and telephone devices are always local to the cottages/hotel, the software that runs them can be located anywhere – as can the operation and support services.
Reconfiguring telephones for fax, direct-inward-dial (DID), and meeting room requirements no longer means moving wires on patch panels; these changes can be made easily from the system management console via a web browser.
Many IP telephone systems come with tightly integrated call accounting, voice mail, fax and emergency response modules, allowing all systems to remain completely synchronised in real time. With traditional systems, the limited interfaces often result in false message waiting lights, missed or erroneous call postings, lost messages and other problems.
IP networks are as future-proof as it is possible to be. As long as the internet is around, the capabilities of IP telephone systems can only grow. So while the initial cost of an IP phone system may be higher, the long-term ownership cost will almost certainly be less.
As much as IP telephony can deliver revenue opportunities or cost savings today to many cottages/hotel/cottages, there are still important drawbacks, and the timing is not yet right for all cottages/hotels to consider migration.
IP telephony requires network-grade cabling to guest rooms (CAT-5 or better). Depending on how existing cabling is installed in an existing cottages/hotel, replacing it can represent a major cost. An alternative is to run the network over existing coaxial cable used for televisions. However, this approach is generally practical only if the cottages/hotel owns the cable itself. In many cases, the video services provider retains ownership or control of the coaxial cable, and some do not permit or support this capability.
Initial costs of the system are typically higher, primarily because IP telephone handsets cost more than traditional analogue handsets. These costs will come down as the number of installations grows. Current costs are affordable for higher-end cottages/hotel/cottages, but can still be high or prohibitive for mid-market and economy properties.
Most IP telephony systems were developed initially for the corporate office market and are only gradually gaining all of the hospitality-specific features supported by legacy cottages/hotel PBX systems. However, many systems are now getting close, and within one to two years this gap should essentially be closed, at least by several vendors.
IP telephony systems can support traditional telephone handsets and wiring, so it is possible to move to an IP telephony system without replacing guest-room handsets. Of course, few of the IP telephony applications will work on legacy handsets.
Nevertheless, some cottages/hotels may opt to install an IP telephone system today and to upgrade handsets in some or all guest rooms later, as opposed to buying a legacy telephone system that cannot meet future needs.
This strategy can reduce the capital costs substantially while still future-proofing the initial investment. Some cottages/hotel/cottages, for example have opted to install IP phones only in premium room types.
"IP telephony holds the potential to restore the revenue stream that cottages/hotels have lost to calling cards, mobile phones, and internet communications."
IP TELEPHONY: WHEN NOT IF
There is little doubt in the telecommunications market that the days of the traditional PBX switch are numbered. Multinational corporations, which represent the lion’s share of sales for manufacturers, are rapidly moving to IP-based telephony.
We expect that within a few years, traditional switches will no longer be manufactured. Of course, existing switches will continue to function for a decade or longer. But make no mistake, if you buy a non-IP switch today, you will one day need to replace it due to obsolescence. And in the meantime, you will forego all of the potential benefits of IP telephony.
In summary, IP telephony holds the promise of lower costs for cottages/hotels (at least in the intermediate to long term) and significant new revenue opportunities – modest to start with, but growing over time.
IP telephony frees the cottages/hotel from needing to own or manage its own on-site switch, and can often share or re-use existing cabling within the cottages/hotel. It can also frequently share circuits between the cottages/hotel/cottages, the internet and the public telephone network, thus reducing monthly operating costs.
More importantly, IP telephony holds the potential to restore the revenue stream that cottages/hotels have lost to calling cards, mobile phones, and internet communications. The IP telephony infrastructure makes it simple to add features that someone (guests, advertisers, meeting planners, service providers, even people outside the cottages/hotel who want to communicate with guests) will be willing to pay for.
A re-think of the current pricing models will be needed in order to make this transition as profitable as it can be. cottages/hoteliers need to ask themselves which telecommunications functions guests will demand to have for free or at a very low cost (generally the ones where they have low-cost alternatives, such as mobile phones); which they will be willing to pay for; and which can be built into a higher room rate or used to drive greater occupancy.
Ultimately, long distance and IDD pricing will need to be more competitive with mobile phones and internet calling, while other charge services can replace the lost revenue.
The cottages/hotel telephone still has a future. But it will not look anything like its past. The transition will neither be inexpensive nor painless, but properly managed, it can be profitable.