This Whole Hotel Phone Situation is Really Starting to Get Quite Awkward
It seems we've reached a crossroads when it comes to the hotel phone, one that puts hotels in an awkward position when it comes to the next step. Undoubtedly, in-room phones are being used less and less as smart phones (and cell phones in general) continue to tighten their grip on the world. So why not get rid of the damn things?
One hotel executive told us that while there is little revenue from them, they really accept phones as a "need to have" at this point. Although most people have a cell phone, not everyone, especially older travelers, are comfortable using apps to contact the front desk or order room service, and would still prefer to simply pick up the phone and hit a button. There's also the issue of security. If a traveler doesn't have or forgets their cell phone, they need a way to reach the outside world in the case of an emergency. So we can't just straight up get rid of them.
We call it an "awkward" situation because we've reached a point where 9 of out 10 travelers find the in-room phone useless, yet hotels cannot get rid of them due to that one traveler who needs it. The result is a theoretical roadblock that is preventing this much-needed upgrade from taking place -- it seems some hotels simply don't want to deal with installing technically advanced phones until they absolutely have to.
The solution here is obviously an in-room smartphone or iPad with one-touch buttons for hotel services as well as more complicated app features (maps, concierge recs, etc.), but the question remains when such an overhaul will take place on a large scale at mid-range properties, as most hotels we stay in still sport the old-school phones. But, we all know this change needs to happen, and will happen sooner or later, both for the purpose of functionality as well as aesthetics.
But, unfortunately, it looks like "later" is going to be the reality here, as hotels seem in no rush to make the investment. Understandable? Totally. Frustrating? For sure!