Digital Telephone Services for Vacation Rental Properties
"The most successful Vacation Rental property owners are focused on increasing guest satisfaction, decreasing operating costs, and increasing monthly revenue per occupied unit (RPOU)."
Follow along as we explore how Digital Telephone Services for Vacation Rental Properties can help meet these goals for property owners.
A Historical Faux Pas
Its been a little over twenty years since greedy telecommunications companies and their large hotel chain partners totally ruined the guest room telephone experience. How did they do this? By charging guests outrageous prices to use the phone - even just to make local calls! Traveling guests became so afraid to even pick up the phone for fear they would be charged tens or hundreds of dollars for usage upon checkout.
Fast forward to today's world and the massive adoption of cellular telephone service and smartphones. We see that the guest room telephone is still standing. Although, for hotels it has truly been relegated to the simple, albeit still very important, task of an information portal; a glorified intercom system between the guest and the property. Guests still use that telephone to call the front desk or concierge for information or to order room service. Thus, the telephone is still a very relevant and universally familiar tool for guests to get the information they need during their stay.
The State of Telephony in Vacation Rental Properties
You're probably not too far off in thinking telephones in Vacation Rental properties are pretty much non-existent. Why is this? After all, everyone carries a smartphone, right? A guest probably booked their stay and communicated with the Vacation Rental property owner using their smartphone through a walled-garden booking App. They even read about all the wonderful property amenities and things to do during their stay. Besides, Google, Alexa, and Siri know everything, right? And, if there was a telephone, the property owner certainly doesn't want to risk a guest running up their phone bill making long distance calls.
Indeed, all of these reasons and more. So, why are we even having this conversation? Wait, what?
Imagine for a moment, an inexpensive communications platform and information portal tailored for the Vacation Rental property business that creates an outstanding guest experience, decreases costs for property owners, and has great potential for increasing revenue.
Introducing Dial 394
"Communications, For Your Information"
The most successful Vacation Rental property owners and managers are focused on increasing guest satisfaction, decreasing operating costs, and increasing monthly revenue per occupied unit (RPOU). Dial 394 is a simple-to-use and cost effective digital telephone service that is designed specifically for Vacation Rental property managers to meet these goals.
As a property manager, you already know all the questions guests will have about your Vacation Rental property and the local area before they arrive. Topics range from dining options for delivery, carry-out, dine-in and reservations, or all about area attractions, to information about property amenities - like the WiFi password and the location of the extra bedding for the pull-out sofa - or inquiries about discounts available from other local merchants. Guests want to know and Dial 394 provides the answers and more - and it’s right at their fingertips.
It all starts by deploying a low-cost, digital, HD voice-quality guest telephone in your Vacation Rental property that connects over the Internet to an all-inclusive digital telephone service called Dial 394. Using state-of-the-art Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Dial 394 gives property managers all the power of an expensive and sophisticated PBX phone system typically only affordable by larger businesses - and that same power is now available for any size vacation rental property at a fraction of the cost.
The guest telephone comes pre-configured; all you have to do is plug it into your property’s Ethernet switch. If your switch supports Power-Over-Ethernet (POE+), you won’t have to worry about using the phone’s included AC power adapter. The phone includes a Gigabit Ethernet Pass-Thru port that allows you to connect another peripheral to your property network, for example: an IPTV Set Top Box or Game Console - or use it to provide a wired Ethernet port for guests to use with their laptop for Internet access. It also supports VLAN security with QOS prioritization for proper handling of VoIP traffic (if you're into that level of IT jargon).
The $34 Grandstream GXP1625 is the perfect entry-level guest phone to use with Dial 394, while the $47 Grandstream GXP1628 is a nice mid-level guest phone with 8 programmable speed-dial buttons. Other models are available and compatible with Dial 394, including portable WiFi phones like the Grandstream WP820.
Engaging Guest Experience
On a telephone keypad, 394 spells FYI - "For Your Information". Guests can dial 394 or press a pre-configured speed dial button clearly labeled “Dial 394 (FYI) Info” to gain access to the automated attendant menus that have been setup by the property manager. Guests listen to information and make selections by pressing buttons on the telephone keypad.
There are a several easy and clever ways to engage guest usage, but the most effective are: having appropriate signage near the phone, or telling the guest to Dial 394 for the WiFi password when they arrive. Welcome guests with a personalized message, have them listen to all the house rules...and then give them the WiFi password!
A more personal touch is to make a call directly to the guest room telephone and personally welcome the guest on their arrival. Tell them to Dial 394 for all the property and local information they need, including discounts and deals from your affiliated merchant partners.
A simple placard or tent card next to the guest phone drives engagement. Concise instructions are key.
"Press the Button or Dial 394 (FYI) to hear information about your stay, including amenities & WiFi password, dining, attractions, discount offers from local merchants and more! You can use this phone to make & receive unlimited local & long distance calls for FREE!"
When guests engage with Dial 394, it saves the property manager time. Guests will also enjoy the convenience of having a local telephone number to use during their stay, with free unlimited minutes for local and long distance calling included.
Property Owners Are In Control
From any computer and any location, Property Owners have access to a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) web-based management portal for Dial 394. A limited set of simple and easy-to-use tools allow the owner to create and manage recorded media and define button actions for the Automated Attendant Menus.
The example screen shows a Dining Sub-Menu that directs callers to press buttons to be connected directly to the property owner's select affiliated merchant partners.
A Call History Report can be run at any time, for any date range providing real call accounting for merchant reconciliation.
All-Inclusive Features & Benefits
"A new guest amenity: an interactive information portal with unlimited calling!"
- Unlimited Minutes - guests enjoy free local & long distance calling minutes inbound & outbound.
- Direct Inward Dial (DID) Phone Number - a local phone number assigned to the guest telephone provides the guest with a local “presence” (phone number) to use during their stay. Local numbers are instantly recognized by local merchants.
- Outbound Caller-ID - a name associated with the phone number provides instant recognition by local merchants so they can answer and respond accordingly. This is typically the property’s name and/or unit number.
- Inbound Caller-ID - guests can see who is calling them - perhaps a local affiliated merchant is calling them back with a reservation confirmation or other information.
- Dial 394 (FYI) Dedicated Button - guests can either dial 3-9-4 on the telephone keypad or press the clearly labeled speed-dial button to reach your customized Welcome Message & Automated Attendant Menus.
- Custom Speed-Dial Button(s) - depending on the phone, one or more buttons can be programmed to speed dial any telephone number you choose. These are typically the property manager’s local affiliated merchant partners. A dedicated button for Pizza Delivery? Great idea!
Automated Attendant Menus
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR) - property managers create and manage a recorded menu system to provide guests with answers to frequently asked questions about property rules and amenities along with information on area dining and attractions. Guests navigate the menus and make selections by pressing a number 0-9, *, or # on the telephone keypad.
- Web-based Administration Portal - provides owners a simple and secure tool to create and manage the menus from any remote location using any web browser.
- Media Management - used to create and store recordings for each menu, you can upload high-quality recordings in .mp3 or .WAV format, or use a pin-code# and record from any remote location using any phone.
- Welcome Messaging - create custom welcome messages for your guests.
- Nested Menu/Sub-menu Structure - while you will want to keep it small and easy to manage and use, you can build a virtually unlimited hierarchy of menus that guide the guest to sub-menus and recorded information, with prompts for the guest to make a selection. Want to have guests listen to your house rules before giving them the WiFi password? Great idea!
- Automated Call Transfers - when a guest makes a specific selection, the system can automatically transfer the call and connect the guest directly and immediately to any one of a number of the property manager’s chosen affiliated merchant partners or any other calling destination. For some properties, one option may be included to reach the front desk or property owner directly.
"You’ve got options!"
Property Manager's Phone Service
While Dial 394 provides an outstanding guest room telephone experience for any vacation rental property, when property manager’s subscribe to business phone service too, it really ties the vacation rental property management experience together. Not only do property managers get the same unlimited calling minutes as guests enjoy, they also get voicemail, voicemail-to-email, and unlimited video conferencing. Plus, the manager’s phone is another extension on the system. Thus, a guest can press a speed-dial button or enter a simple 3-digit extension (like 300) to reach the front desk or property manager. Likewise, the property manager can call the rental unit by its 3-digit extension (like 301).
The best part about our business phone service for the vacation rental property manager is that you can choose to have either a desk phone, or a mobile softphone App - or both! The smartphone App runs on your existing Apple or Android smartphone or tablet, and works over WiFi or Cellular data - a complete mobile solution. Your vacation rental business phone is completely separate from your personal cell phone service. You will no longer have to give guests your personal cell phone number to conduct your vacation rental business. Optionally, the Softphone App supports SMS text messaging, too!
If you have multiple rental units, each unit gets the same great all-inclusive features. Each unit gets a 3-digit extension number that provides unit-to-unit extension calling. This is great for groups or families staying in multiple units. And, each rental unit phone can be programmed to call the front desk or manager by pressing either a speed dial button, or calling a 3-digit extension, or pressing “0” on the telephone keypad.
"What’s in it for me?"
For the Property Owner or Manager
- Increase revenue per occupied unit (RPOU) through advertising fees, referral bonuses, and sales commissions from affiliated merchant partners.
- Choose your own local affiliated merchant partners to work with and feature on the system.
- Increase guest satisfaction by making it easier for guests to obtain important localized information including discounts from local merchants.
- Reduce support time & cost by eliminating calls from guests needing answers to simple and frequently asked questions. There is really no need for guests to call you directly if the information is easily accessible.
- Optionally, you can connect directly to your guest through the guest telephone by calling its assigned DID telephone number (or 3-digit extension, if the owner/manager phone is also on the same system).
- Easy to use web-based portal to manage media and menus, and to retrieve call history reports that show when guests call your affiliated merchant partners and how long they talk.
For the Affiliated Merchant Partner
- Increased visitor referrals leading to increased sales.
- Close more sales by presenting special discounts and other offers to visitors.
- May pay a small commission (negotiated with the property owner/manager) for a sale that may have otherwise never been realized.
- Get automatically and directly connected to a captive visitor needing your goods or services.
For the Guest
- A single push of a button on the guest telephone connects the guest to a powerful information and communication tool that is familiar and easy to use and navigate.
- Guests gain quick and easy access to property information with answers to the most frequently asked questions without having to call the property owner.
- Guests can receive valuable discounts and other offers from participating local affiliated merchants in the area, and be automatically connected directly to them.
- Guests gain a local presence (DID phone number) during their stay with unlimited inbound & outbound local & long distance calling included.
- Guests don’t have to use their personal cell phones to try to find and communicate with the best local merchants for dining or attractions. With personal privacy becoming more important, many people will enjoy this type of anonymity while traveling.
- Provides peace-of-mind for guests knowing that should they need to call 911 in a real emergency situation, the property address is properly registered to the guest telephone number so that emergency responders can locate the property quickly. (Some restrictions & limitations apply when using any type of VoIP services for 911, explained in the E911 Disclosure Notice).
- Optionally, let the guest connect directly to the front desk or property manager by choosing a menu option (or optionally by pressing a speed-dial button or dialing a 3-digit extension).
Dial 394 Pricing
"Small business friendly!"
Dial 394 pricing is small-business friendly and is perfect for sole proprietor “mom-and-pop” vacation rental businesses - with generous discounts to accommodate any size property management group with tens or hundreds of rental units.
Vacation Rental Property Phone Service
For the 1st Rental Unit:
- Only $15/mo when purchased with Property Manager’s Phone Service
For Rental Units 2-9:
- $20/mo per rental unit
For Rental Units 10 and up:
- $15/mo per rental unit
Property Manager’s Phone Service
Service for a desk phone -or- Smartphone App:
Additional phone device, enables desk phone -and- Smartphone App
For Rental Units 1-9:
- $5 per rental unit
For Rental Units 10 and up:
- $3 per rental unit
For Property Manager's Phone Service:
- $5 per rental unit
- $25 porting fee per existing telephone number (only if you want/need to keep an existing phone number(s)
Programming & Recording Automated Attendant Menus
While Dial 394 is designed as a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) service, we recognize that you may not have the time or inclination to learn how to setup and manage your Automated Attendant Menus for your new vacation rental phone service. We can do it for you, at an affordable price.
Initial Setup, Main Menu, 4 Sub-Menus, Voice Recordings
Add or modify one menu, with voice recording: