While the guestroom telephones are not often used to make outbound calls in hotels in the cell phone age, they are still a vital part of guest satisfaction. Historically, local and long-distance calling were revenue generators for hotels but now guestroom phone manufacturers are finding new ways of keeping the guests happy. The role of the guestroom phone has changed, said Joe Zhang, president and CEO of Bittel Americas.
“We are redefining what the guestroom phone is,” he said. “How does the guest use that in-room phone? We now build guestroom phones to accommodate the guests’ smartphones.”
The guestroom phone now comes with USB ports to charge guests' cell phones. The hottest product for Bittel right now is its all-in-one phone—it’s a phone, clock radio and charging device with four USB ports, said Mitch Heinlein, vice president of sales and marketing for Bittel Americas. Guest bring an average of two to five mobile devices so guest connectivity requirements extend to smartphones, laptops, tablets and music devices so USB ports are a great feature to add additional relevance to the standby phone.
While more hotels are offering customer service through a hotel smartphone app and millennials in particular are using it, many older travelers naturally go to the guestroom phone, Heinlein said. Even for millennials, the phone is still the natural fit when in the room to reach the front desk.
Some phones also offer Bluetooth speakers for music to provide better sound quality for listening throughout the room. “The vast majority of our guestroom phone efforts go towards supporting the guest mobile device,” Heinlein said.
Guestroom phones are the practical product to communicate with the guest while at the hotel.
“It is the primary manner in which a guest still communicates their needs to hotel staff, such as wake-up calls, dry cleaning pick-up, spa reservations, and such,” said Chad Collins, senior sales director, Americas for the hospitality division of VTech Telecommunications Ltd.
The guestroom phone also will always be the default emergency call device by virtue of its ability to exactly pinpoint the room from which an emergency call is made, said John Grubb, vice president or sales and marketing for Cetis.