Tag: Hotel PhonesView All Tags
A little while ago we showed you the ingenious breakfast signs at the Hotel Icon in Hong Kong, which you put on your table to help staff determine whether you’re done or still gorging, while you’re away from the table. Today, let’s look at something even more ingenious: phones with free international calls and internet that sit in every single room.
Yes, a hotel in one country that allows you to phone other countries - landlines and mobiles - for free. And not just from your room, either - you can make those calls from wherever you like in Hong Kong, whether on the harbor front, up Victoria Peak or in the Hello Kitty Cafe. The phone is synced to your room, so if you need to take a call, just tell them to call the hotel and it’ll come straight through. Handy, right? Literally - they're actually made by handy, a new Hong Kong-based smartphone rental company.
We usually associate the Delano brand with design and not necessarily technology but when we peeked into a model room of the Delano Las Vegas, opening September 1 at the Mandalay Bay, we geeked out over the room phone. Yes, the room phone which we actually thought was nearly extinct.
While the phone may look like an ordinary cordless phone with the requisite hotel buttons on the front, on the side, it has a USB port so you can directly plug in your phone for charging.
No more schlepping over to the desk to the plug panel. No more bringing both the outlet charger and the USB cord. Just plug and charge while you sleep.
This is the first time we've seen this sort of phone in a hotel room, anywhere. But we sure hope it gets picked up by hotels, everywhere.
Stay tuned tomorrow for more photos inside The Delano Las Vegas!
A few months ago, we talked about how hotel phones seemed unnecessary as most everyone has cell phones these days. But the story behind this Change.org petition has us seeing the hotel phone in a whole new light.
According to the petition, Kari Renee Hunt was staying in a motel with her three children when her estranged husband barged in, ambushed her while she was in the restroom and killed her. During the struggle, her 9-year-old tried to call 911 but was repeatedly thwarted by the hotel's "Dial 9" function which requires uses to dial a 9 to get an outside line. While Kari's daughter knew how to call 911, she didn't understand that she needed to dial 9 in the motel room.
Every hotel has different phone systems, some which include an emergency button like the Hard Rock Seminole's phone, pictured above. We've seen other phones advertise that guests dial "0" for the operator or the front desk in case of emergency. But in smaller hotels or motels like the Baymont Inn and Suites where Kari was staying, the phones don't have these emergency options. And that's what the petition is hoping to change.
Titled "Kari's Law", the petition is asking Congress to make it a requirement for all hotel and motels to be updated to E911 systems which would allow a 911 call to connect to a 911 operator without having to dial 9. You can go here to sign the petition. So while no one is ready to throw out the hotel telephone just yet, it's clear that if a hotel does do this, they need to have an emergency option available.
Last week, we wondered about the future of hotel phones, noting that the technology of old is all but obsolete in today’s world. While the whole changeover process will certainly take time to implement, we wanted to give you a look at one of the possible future alternatives. And it’s no surprise that the services of a hotel phone will most likely end up being in your purse or pocket in the form of an app.
Neon, for example, is a type of concierge software that gives guests the ability to submit requests and have conversations with the front desk. The app allows the front desk to aggregate and keep track of all the requests that have been logged by guests, and it can respond and message the individual guest. The guest can also view the status of the request, including whether or not it was received (opened) by the front desk.
Check out the short demo video above to get an idea how Neon or a similar software works. While there’s a sense of nostalgia that comes along with losing the old-school desktop phone, we really like the looks of the next phase, especially since you could theoretically use the app while you were out and about during the day.
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.
We're all about cool hotel technology here at HotelChatter but sometimes, we just want things to be simple which is why this button found on a Country Inn & Suites phone is right up our alley.
We reached out to the hotel to see if this pizza button was still in service and where the pizza came from but so far, they've not answered us. Don't they understand this is important stuff we're talking about?
Anyways, while the pizza delivery is going to cost extra, the breakfast is free as part of the Country Inns and Suites standard amenities. Rates start at $199 CAD next weekend.
UPDATE, 11:46pm: The hotel has written us back! Here's who the pizza button, still in service, calls:
The pizza button is set to a local dependable business that provides an excellent product. The Country Inn and Suites in Niagara Falls is a very busy hotel. This button is very convenient for the guests in the room and also frees up our guest services team to have more one on one time with guests in the lobby.
The other week during our stay at The Jade Hotel in the West Village, we were tickled to find a working rotary phone on the nightstand. Just when we thought hotels were doing away with the in-room phone, this boutique hotel had to bring it back in an old-school way!
And the Jade isn't the only one. The newly opened High Line Hotel, also in Manhattan, has put rotary phones in their guest rooms as well.
While we do love the novelty there is just one drawback, in an age of emails, text messages and IM, a rotary phone simply takes too long. We only called the front desk and room service during our stay but we just pulled back the 0 number each time. We can't imagine having to do more than that. Also, the hotel really can't advertise great service "at the touch of a button." Perhaps they should stock a regular phone at the desk as well?
We noticed that having a phone right next to the toilet has become standard at a number of hotels, which made us wonder: Does anyone actually use those telephones? On the one hand, we guess they can be, um, convenient. But on the other hand, they are probably infested with germs and the thought of touching one gives us the heebie-jeebies.
Also, toilet telephones always have cords—maybe so there's no danger of them falling in the bowl? So it's not like you can take the phone into other rooms. And we've previously declared corded phones one of the most useless hotel amenities.
Thanks to cellphones, we never have to pay an outrageous Hotel Telephone charge again. Instead, we only use those phones for calls to room service, the front desk and the concierge. In fact, we don't even call room to room anymore because we can just text our friends instead.
But hotels need to keep phones in the room mainly because of security concerns and also so we can order that cheeseburger at 4am. Yet hotels aren't ready to forfeit their landline revenue just yet. And in a way to accommodate guests and their mobile phone habits, hotels are increasingly looking towards smartphone apps. Reuters reports:
We've seen this several times as well. In fact, we listed it as one of the most useless hotel amenities back in 2008. Lately, we've seen it almost exclusively in luxury hotel rooms although some larger suites offer both--a corded phone by the desk and a cordless one near the bed. (Toilet phones are exclusively corded.) But we're still confused by this.
Wouldn't everyone want to go with cordless, especially in this day and age when kids get cellphones at their kindergarten graduations?