The Hospitality Industry and Call AccountingCall accounting, the ability to track and analyze phone calls, was originally invented in the 1970s as a way for businesses to manage phone usage within their organizations. By the early 80s it had been adapted to the hospitality industry, allowing hotels and resorts to more easily track guest phone usage, recover telephone costs, and generate extra revenue through the resale of phone calls.
Call accounting systems, such as the INN-FORM XL from TEL electronics, inc., can track where a phone call was made, who made the call, what number was dialed, how long the call lasted, and, using FCC tariff information, can determine the cost of the call and automatically add pre-defined surcharges to it.
During the 1980s and 90s call accounting systems were in high demand due to the fact that hotels could often generate thousands of dollars each month by marking up long distance calls. However, with decreasing calling costs and the invention of cell phones and VoIP, hotels have seen decreasing revenues from their call accounting systems and some managers think that call accounting is no longer necessary for their properties.
In today’s world, major business and hospitality organizations strongly suggest that their properties use call accounting systems, and many require that their systems are up-to-date and accurate. They do this for four main reasons: (1) to recover the cost of long-distance calls, (2) to properly allocate, account for, and charge customers for phone usage, (3) to generate revenue through the resale of phone calls, and (4) to track phone calls made to and from their property for marketing, planning, and other purposes, and especially for handling and tracking emergency calls.
In the hospitality industry, it is often appropriate to have detailed information about high-cost phone calls, wake-up calls, and in case of emergencies, where 911 calls were initiated. Without a call accounting system, hotel managers do not have the information needed to quickly resolve guest concerns and may be confronted with headaches and disgruntled customers. However, by using a call accounting system, managers can have the added security and peace of mind that they have the information needed to help their guests and to understand, manage, improve, and control telephone activities.
When buying a call accounting system, hotel managers have three system choices: software, hardware, or web-based products. Web-based products tend to get quite expensive due to the monthly subscription fees which are based on the number of extensions and users. Software products are more flexible than hardware-based systems due to the added capabilities of the PC, but often require large amounts of memory to store and retrieve call data efficiently. Hardware or stand-alone systems appear to be the most popular form of call accounting systems in the hospitality industry due to the fact that the systems are quite small and can be stored in a closet or drawer. Stand-alone systems, like software and web-based products, will automatically post call records directly to the Property Management System for future retrieval.
There are many companies that offer call accounting products, but only a few with a long history of providing quality products and customer support specifically for the hospitality industry. TEL electronics, inc., founded in the 1970s, is one of the nation’s leading call accounting providers for hotels, resorts, and businesses. TEL has provided systems for nearly 50,000 organizations and offers two stand-alone systems, the INN-FORM XL and the INN-FORM Plus, as well as two software-based systems called the INN-FORM PC and the WIN-SENSE 32.
To learn more about TEL, its products and services, visit www.tel-electronics.com
TEL electronics, inc.
705 East Main Street
American Fork, UT 84003
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