Hotel Phone System Options
For hotel and motel phone systems, also referred to as hospitality phone systems, the standard has been Private Branch Exchange (PBX), an analog system based on standard land lines and a main console or cabinet that dispatches calls and information to the phones in its exchange network. More recently, Internet Protocol (IP) or Voiceover Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems have gained popularity in the hospitality industry. An IP phone system is a digital PBX that uses streaming internet data to process and route calls to regular phones. One advantage of IP telephony is the eliminated cost of long distance fees; another is space saved by the absence of a large cabinet, as IP systems are much smaller, and are often hosted on offsite servers.
Specialized Features for the Hospitality Industry
Both system types support all the business phone features customers typically expect – management of multiple lines, customized messages, voice mail, and extension-dialing – as well as features specific to the hotel industry such as:
- Check-in and reserving rooms
- Updating room status
- Automatic call accounting and invoicing
- Storing guest preferences for frequent visitors
- Guest database management
- Distributing calls to staff and guests
- Scheduling, confirming, and editing wake up calls and reminders
- Directing calls to rooms
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Concerns Regarding Phone Systems for Hotels
Considering that a new PBX or IP phone system is a significant investment, there are a few factors affecting price that warrant discussion:
- Is the phone system replacing/improving upon an existing one or do you require a completely new set-up? What sort of wiring infrastructure is already in place? Integrating existing handsets into a new system can save on up-front costs significantly.
- How many phones will be connected to the system? Support is available for as little as eight rooms or upwards of 200 rooms. Remember to count office and other internal phones as well.
- If you opt to purchase a router rather than use the vendor provided one, make sure that it supports the required number of lines and phones and is compatible with the system.
How Much Does a Hotel Phone System Cost?
The factors most influencing price are hardware, added features, wiring and installation, and maintenance or data plan charges. Be sure to carefully compare vendor packages.
A traditional PBX system includes a central cabinet and phones. Additional costs apply for installation (a one-time fee sometimes included with purchase), plus the cost of any maintenance visits.
- The cabinet itself may cost $500 to $5,000 with installation included. Handsets cost around $100 to $500 each.
- A general estimate for maintenance is 20 percent of the system cost per year.
- A typical estimate for a complete PBX phone system supporting 16 phones and 6 lines is $5,000 to $6,000 installed.
With IP PBX, businesses may own equipment outright or rent from the vendor. Thus, costs assume a router purchase or rental fee, any needed phones, and monthly service plan.
- A business-class router costs approximately $200 to $500. For example, a WAN (wide area network) router with 16 Ethernet ports costs $400 to $500. Rentals cost roughly $7 to $14 per month.
- Metered plans that support six to 10 rooms start at $15 to $20 per month. Unlimited data plans with support for more rooms range from $25 to $50 per month.
- The estimated cost for a complete hosted IP PBX phone system for hundreds of phones and lines is $1,200 to $2,000 installed.