Is There a Future for Landline Phone Service in Hotels?

Technology evolves very fast. Thursday, March 10, marked the 135 anniversary of the invention of telephone. This MSNBC News video helps us review the changing roles of telephones play in our lives. “Once upon a time,” people might feel bored, lonely, or odd if not being able to talk on the phone. Since 2007, however, the length of phone calls has dropped 50%. That does not mean people spend less time on phones; they just don’t talk as much. I cannot help wondering the future of landline phone service in hotels again.

When I discussed PBX and At Your Service in my Hotel Operations class, I asked students to think about the future of landline phone service in hotels. Hotels used to provide the telecommunication service at a loss. In the 80s, PBX finally generated some extra incomes. These days, hotels find that very few guests even touch the telephones in the rooms. If that is the case, can hotels take the telephones away from guestrooms?

The hospitality industry is doing very well in keeping up with the mobile trend. As people spend more time in texting and surfing the Internet on their smart phones, early adaptors have utilized mobile devices to interact with customers, such as using iPad as menu, wine list, and guest service tools. Some hotels also monitor and respond to guest complaints on Facebook and Twitter.

Do you think mobile devices will eventually replace the landline phone service in hotels? If a hotel informs you that there is no landline phone in guestroom, will you feel comfortable staying in the hotel? If you manage a hotel or a hotel chain, are you ready to make your property or brand the first hotel without landline phone service in guestrooms in the 21st century? (No hotels have telephones in guestrooms before 1894).


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