I have quite a few IT Directors expressing their ideas to move away from guest room phones. My main question is “are you spending a lot of time managing the handsets?”. The answer is typically no. Once the handset is configured and placed it’s basically a “set it and forget it” device. These phones are built to take a beating and have a long life, so the question remains – Why the push to remove the phones?
Nightstand Clutter Frustrating your Guests.
With most hotels modernizing rooms to accommodate new technologies, the big nightstand is quickly shrinking. Hotels are investing in solving the dilemma of the BYOD (bring your own device) era. The smartphone was a game changer in so many ways including the hotel nightstand. Once a cluttered space filled with a clock radio, pen and paper, tent card, menus, and a phone book – designers focused on minimally-designed all-in-one devices.
Reinvention Starts with Demand
While you may not place your cell phone and devices on your nightstand at home, the traveler will. Guests want to reach over after sleeping or relaxing and check their devices. The average guest travels with 3 smart devices and they need to conveniently recharge. The hospitality phone manufacturers met these demands with a smaller footprint, USB ports, and built-in clocks. And it’s working out to their favor. Instead of competing with the smart device, simply support it.
Calls to the Front Desk remain Consistent
The top reason a guest uses the hotel room phone is to quickly call the Front Desk. “What’s the WiFi password?”, “What time is Check out?”, and local information remains the top reasons a guest will use the phone.
Don’t Forget about Kari’s 911 Law
In February 2018, Kari’s Law Act was signed into law. The bill was an amendment to the Communications Act of 1934 that prohibits manufacturers from distributing a multi-line phone unless it is pre-configured with a direct dial to 911 without dialing the trunk prefix to obtain an outside line such as “9”.
Back to Basics for the Hotel Room Phone
While many hotels are exploring new ways to communicate with guests, incorporating Alexa, Google Assistant, and mobile applications with text messaging – the phone manufacturers moved back to basics. They no longer attempt to compete with smart devices. The phone at least for now is here to stay, primarily for 911 emergencies, convenience, and providing the quickest access the hotel services.