Hotel guests' expectations haven't changed much over the years: They want clean rooms, a nice pool and a welcoming bar. At the same time, today's travelers have a new set of priorities, all rooted in the need to connect. Hotel guests now expect to interact with hotel staff and services, from booking to check out, through their smartphones and other mobile devices.
This highly connected guest experience is driving the industry's investment in IT. According to Hospitality Technology's 2018 Lodging Technology Study, nearly half of hoteliers say digital customer experience is their main strategic goal for the year.
Yet many hotels face a major challenge: Their legacy phone systems don't support even basic digital features, such as mobility or self-service. And with substantial investments in current infrastructure and equipment, hotel management may be understandably reluctant to invest in new communications technology.
SIP trunking provides a cost-effective solution that provides the benefits of unified communications while still protecting your investment in traditional telephony.
What is SIP trunking?
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to connect private branch exchange (PBX) to the internet. In other words, the internet replaces your traditional carrier.
Hotels that leverage SIP trunking can leave their current infrastructure in place and simply disconnect from pricey telephone trunk lines. Calls are converted to VoIP and run over a SIP protocol.
SIP trunking for hotels: It just makes sense
SIP trunking offers a number of benefits:
Seamless deployment with existing PBX hardware and systems.
Migration support to the cloud in stages, allowing hotels to grow on their own schedule.
Available at a low initial investment, which typically involves only the purchase of a gateway box and perhaps additional bandwidth.
Delivers ROI quickly with drastic savings on monthly phone bills when compared to traditional carriers.
Rather than pay based on the number of phones, you pay based on the number of phone calls. That means big savings for large hotel chains.
Easily scales as your needs grow. Simply increase your bandwidth rather than purchasing more interface cards.
Interoperability of SIP devices and applications enables you to deploy best-of-breed solutions with seamless voice, video and data integration.
Support for mobile devices so hotels can deliver the level of service guests expect. Plus, the guest's device can become an extension of the hotel telephone system.
Cost savings on bandwidth since you only pay for the trunks you use.
Flexibility and cost savings for regional and international hotel chains by leveraging the IP network to cover as much of the call route as possible.
Connections to multiple points on the traditional network, allowing you to have local phone numbers anywhere.
Choose the right SIP trunking provider
There are two key items to consider when selecting a SIP trunking provider: security and interoperability. When you use SIP trunking, your hotel’s phone system is connected to the internet. You need to separate your corporate network from the service provider’s to protect yourself from security vulnerabilities, which will only grow as guests increasingly use their own devices. Hotel operators need to make data privacy and security a high priority, and best practices dictate using a SIP-compliant firewall or a session border controller (SBC) to keep your network safe and secure.
You also need to make sure your SIP service is certified to work with your IP PBX. Interoperability testing is the best way to check for compatibility and identify anything needed for the system. Your vendor should run these checks to ensure a smooth setup process without interruption to your hotel's telephone service.
Choosing the right vendor ensures you get a secure SIP trunking service that provides all the technology's benefits in cost and flexibility. Make sure you shop around and ask vendors about their experience not only with SIP, but with the hotel industry specifically. All industries aren’t alike, after all, and your vendor should be well-versed in the special needs of hotels, such as BYOD support, reliability and around-the-clock customer service.
Travelers expect a certain level of service at hotels, which means you need to keep pace with technological advances. With SIP trunking, hotels can deliver a better customer experience while actually saving money. That’s a rare combination, and one that every hotel should check in to.