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Hospitality Phone Systems

A CASE STUDY: A hotel, motel, nursing home, serviced apartments or B&B each have specific needs that are very different from a standard pbx solution for a normal business.

We've compiled a case study that highlights these unique differences and the solutions provided to address them.

Current Situation Faced By The Hotel Proprietor:

Their old phone system printed accounts onto a dot matrix printer. They had a phone in the front reception desk as well as a phone in the live in managers apartment.

They used mobile phones to talk to staff, and housekeeping, around the property and although this was expensive they had no choice.

After hours the phone still rang and they could get calls at any time of the day or night. They all answered calls and did not have a dedicated receptionist and it was common for the phone to be ringing whilst they were dealing with a guest or taking another booking. At night, if a call was coming through to the front desk and the night manager was busy elsewhere the call would not be answered.

With advancements in mobile phone technology, guests were hardly using the in-room phones and the hotel needed to cut down costs as much as possible.

The Brief from the client:

To have a system that:

  • Cut costs where possible
  • Inexpensive solution
  • Allowed mobility
  • Deal with calls better
  • Makes them sound more professional
  • Easy Finance options
  • Integrate with their existing Property Management System

The Solution Implemented:

LG iPECS eMG80, paired with the iPECS Hotel PMS

Unlike many phone systems that offer add-on 'hospitality' features to their pbx switch, the LG iPECS Hospitality systems are specifically designed from the ground up to ensure maximum ease of use for guests, while recognising that the rotational staffing requirements of the business demand logical, simple operation of the telephone system. Here's how:

Contacting staff around the premises

As staff were already carrying their mobile phones, we simply integrated their smartphones into the eMG80 pbx. The iPECS Communicator App was installed on the staff mobiles phones, and this allowed them to be connected to the eMG80 phone system and have much of the functionality that the desk phones have (including conference, transfer and call log). As the hotel has excellent network connectivity and bandwidth, using the hotel wifi for VoIP is not a problem. The staff are now seamlessly connected to the eMG80 phone system with their own existing smartphones, and can communicate with staff and customers as if they are sat at a desk.

Keeping costs down

Rather than put new phones in the rooms we only replaced the ones necessary as many were still in working order and looked as good as new. As the eMG80 is a hybrid system, the hotel can use their current ISDN and Analog (PSTN) phone lines, then easily move to a SIP setup when the NBN becomes available in their area. Also a lot of their handsets from their old phone system were compatible with their new system so there is no need to upgrade all of the existing handsets phones for the eMG80. This saved a lot of unnecessary spending!

Better call handling (juggling)

Here we installed an Auto Attendant that now acts as a backup for staff answering the phone. Rather than staff having to stop a call to answer another, or interrupt a guest, the Auto Attendant now answers after 6 rings and says "Thank you for calling ABC Hotel, your call is important and we will be with you in a moment". This ensures they never miss calls, and it sounds incredibly professional.

Integrating with the Property Management System

The iPECS eMG80 Hospitality phone system package has been designed to integrate with a whole host of front of house packages for accommodation venues. This means that you can print (on a normal printer) the clients phone bills as well as a whole host of other features like turning phones on and off with the click of a button, wake up calls, room status, mini bar charges and so much more.

Unlike many phone systems that offer add-on 'hospitality' features to their pbx switch, the iPECS eMG80 Hospitality systems are specifically designed from the ground up to ensure maximum ease of use for guests

Staff taking handwritten messages for each other

We installed Voicemail so that customers now leave messages for a specific person should they need to. They no longer have to take messages for each other and this has saved time and money! They also now have voicemail to email, so staff can have access to their voicemails wherever they are!

Answering machine after hours

The Auto Attendant now also professionally answers after hours. The system can even answer multiple calls at once and callers leave messages that a nominated staff member listens to every morning. This has stopped callers ringing at all times of the night, and lets callers know that their call will be returned! If it is an emergency callers can still be transferred through to the managers.

Sounding more professional

Here we installed Professional Messages On Hold - this capped off the solution and made their business sound incredibly professional. They now tell callers about all the various destinations they deal with, travel insurance, FAQ and so on and clients don't mind waiting anymore, and sales will be increased as the information is relayed to more callers than ever.

Cutting costs

Integrating the existing mobile phones with the eMG80 cut the costs of expensive mobile phone calls and adding in new hardware. To help cut more costs we also provided the client with fantastic call rates that came with:

  • No contracts
  • No flag falls
  • No Minimum charges

These rates slashed their existing bill by 48% and these savings more than paid for the rental of their system! . The move to VoIP resulted in incredible saving for the hotel.

Additional features offered by the LG-Ericsson iPECS Hospitality pbx system

Intelligent Messaging

As well as staff having voicemail to email, guests can also receive messages in their voicemail box or as a message from -for example -the front-desk or concierge, all indicated by the phone's message lamp. Message retrieval is as easy as one touch on the handsets for either guest or front desk staff. Once the message has been retrieved the light on the phone handset is extinguished.

On check-out, any remaining voice messages are automatically erased from the integrated messaging system.

Wake-up Call

Guests can either program their own wake-up call or have the front desk do it for them. A wake-up message can be played to the guest.

Room To Room Dialing

Guests can easily call friends or colleagues staying in the hotel by simply calling their room number. This feature can be enabled or disabled on a room, group or system basis to suit your preferences.

Guest Privacy

Guests can activate the 'do not disturb' feature on their extension preventing incoming calls. Alternatively calls can be forwarded to the guests mailbox. In cases of an emergency the 'do not disturb' feature may be overridden by front desk.

Direct Indial

Guest rooms can be called directly by outside parties, which is particularly useful in long-stay businesses such as nursing homes, retirement complexes, or serviced apartments.

Listen In Facility

This child monitoring facility provides peace of mind for guests. Guests can listen in to their room whilst, perhaps, in another room or elsewhere within the hotel complex to hear what's going on.

Information Messaging

Recorded information about hotel services may be made available to guests. Guests can access this information at the touch of a button.

Guest Access Rights - Class Of Service

Guests may be assigned various levels of access to telephone functions and outgoing call destinations. You can easily restrict any type of call you want to on a room by room basis. This is typically done at check-in but can be modified easily at any time.

Check-in/check-out

Guests can be checked -in and out easily and efficiently. Guest name can be entered at time of check-in and this information can be displayed each time a call is made to or from a guest room.

Class of service (COS) of guest phone may also be set at check-in and this may be changed at any time. At check-out COS is automatically returned to default and all guest messages are erased from1 the integrated voice message system. Payment method, room rate and prepaid call amount are some of the other features that can also be entered at check-in.

Room Status

Rooms can be checked from front desk to see if room is clean or requires servicing. The room attendant can update the status of the room from the guest room phone once they have completed any tasks.

Guest Name Display

Calls to service stations - front desks, bar, room service etc. Can display the guest name & room number.

Multiple Front Desks

iPECS eMG80 Hospitality allows you to exercise front desk functionality at points other than the actual front desk area.

Room Numbering Scheme

Room extension numbering may be matched to actual room number (up to 4 digits).

Single Digit Dialing

Hotel facilities such as Restaurant, Front Desk, Concierge, Porter, Housekeeping etc can be assigned single-digit access from guest phones.

Control Costs

Whether used as a stand alone system or integrated to a front of house PMS, guest accounts can be kept up to date - charges such as bar and restaurant can be added at point of purchase - maximising staff efficiency and eradicating misplaced dockets and receipts.

Vacant Room Barring

At check-out, guest room phones are automatically set to "internal calls only" category to prevent unauthorised use by guests or staff. Maid status (clean/dirty) and mini bar charges can still be entered, however out calling, except for emergency 000 calls, is denied. On check-in full access is automatically restored.

Mailbox Transfer

Messages can be transferred from one mailbox to another in case of room changes.

Mailbox Delivery Confirmation

Hotel staff can request a listen receipt which is important when the hotel needs to pass on important information to guests.

Announce Only Mailbox

iPECS eMG80 Hospitality can allocate a mailbox which can act as a greeting only mailbox and then the guest can be transferred back to the main menu and very useful as a information only source for guests.

Alternative Hospitality & Hotel Phone System Solution

The eMG 80 was a great solution for this hotel. However, depending on your situation there are other options as well. For smaller establishments such as B&B's and bars and restaurants where the some of the advanced features above are not required, there as solutions such as the SpringCom Hosted phone system. The SpringCom hosted system takes advantage of the cost savings of SIP & is feature packed right from the start with no need to purchase any addons.

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