Do We Still Need Guestroom Phones?

Here’s a great article from our friends at Hospitality Upgrade Magazine…

Excerpt of article by Jon Inge 3.2010 from the Spring 2010 issue of Hospitality Upgrade Magazine

Do We Still Need Guestroom Phones?
Speaking of phones, for now it seems essential to keep a phone in the guestroom, despite many travelers’ total dependence on their cell phones; not every guest carries one, and as we have discussed, cell phone reception inside the building is frequently problematic.  The safety needs for a guest to be able to call for help in the case of an emergency and for the operator to know where the guest is calling from are paramount. Most cell phones have GPS location-detection capability, but those don’t work very well indoors and can’t tell an operator which floor you’re on. 

Wi-Fi triangulation from services such as AeroScout (detecting the position of a Wi-Fi-enabled device by picking up its signal at multiple access points) is very promising to help resolve this, but at the moment requires the device to be registered on the hotel network and to send out a pulse to the access points at regular intervals. This isn’t practical for guests’ cell phones but it has great promise for staff devices, helping dispatchers see who’s closest to a guest with a service request.

Guestroom phones themselves are still more often analog than digital, contrary to the trend in general business environments. Part of this is a cost issue, though there’s no reason that a straightforward IP phone without a video screen should cost any more than a traditional analog one.  Mostly it’s a reliability and safety issue, based on the need to have a working phone with a definite, known location if the guest needs to call for help during a power outage.  As cell phones become near-universal there’s been some talk about replacing the guestroom phone with a wired intercom system and a panic button but I think this approach is unlikely to be adopted by many properties, purely from a guest reassurance viewpoint.

Check out the full article at:

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