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RIP to the Hotel PBX – Murder in the Telco Room – Part One

It’s time we talk about a technology that has been ignored for a long time. It’s not a sexy topic, but it IS a necessary one. The traditional PBX has had a good run, but the reality is that these systems are dying. Most hotel PBXs are very old, some upwards of 25 years. In the world of technology, that’s ancient. If you haven’t thought about it lately, now is the time to do so. We will look at the differences between today’s communications systems and a traditional phone system (PBX) in this three-part series. Part one will take a look at the systems of the past and why they are no longer relevant. Part two will examine the advancement of cloud communications and part three will provide you with a direct comparison of yesterday’s phone systems and today’s communication systems.

Examining the past

If you work for an older hotel, you may find that some of your phone services have stopped working properly. For instance, your Call Accounting service may still be hanging on, but if it is, it likely uses a dot matrix printer (remember those?), or worse, perhaps your voicemail service has seen better days. If that’s the case you may be looking at thousands of dollars to purchase a new voicemail system for an old phone system, which would be akin to buying a new engine for an old car that is on its last leg.

Traditional PBXs operate very similarly to how they’ve been operating since the ‘90s. This means that those systems are unable to take advantage of the advancements made in the industry for the past 30 years.

For example, hotels with older PBXs don’t have Caller ID, and changes or modifications to the old PBX (such as an update to the hotel’s Auto-attendant) would require an onsite technician. In fact, hotels today must locate and work with third-party service providers to have their PBXs serviced–if you can find them. Many of these old systems are no longer supported.

In the past, the PBX was a revenue generator for hotels. Then along came the cell phone and everything shifted as they became the prominent method of communication. Guests stopped using hotel phones for phone calls resulting in a drop in revenue for the industry. As a result, PBX manufacturers began to drop their prices from more than $100K to $30k today.

This may have been tempting for many who were looking to replace old equipment, but the reality is that while the cost was low, the maintenance would become more expensive and still require onsite personnel or outside contractors to keep it running.

Are you one of those hotels that have a PBX gathering dust in the closet? If so, the time is now to re-visit replacing old equipment with a state-of-the-art, cloud communications system. Let Think Simplicity show you how you can save money while implementing a frictionless system to handle your guests’ needs. Contact to learn how you can save money and reduce friction through an end-to-end cloud communication platform.

Check out part two of this series.