Hotel Phone System - FAQMost popular questions regarding hotel telephony - answered
To help you understand the benefits Complete Concierge hotel PBX system can bring to your hotel, motel, resort or spa we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs), and divided them into four categories:
Q: Does the system have a service based check-out/check-in, so someone writing his own small PMS can interface with the standalone system?
A: If you have your own “homegrown” PMS, we can provide an OCX (like an SDK) which will support Micros Fidelio-like functionality in your system
Q: Is Complete Concierge designed specifically for all SIP endpoints, or do you also offer analog ports so the hotel can keep using inexpensive guest room phones?
A: Complete Concierge supports both SIP endpoints and standard (touch tone) analog phones.
Q: With legacy analog phones in a old hotel, is it possible to customize functions like service, wake up with Complete Concierge?
A: As long as we’re talking about touch tone phones (not rotary!) there is no problem. All the functionality we have discussed is available with all the touch tone analog phones in the market, including support for a message waiting indicator (for phone sets equipped with this light).
Q: How does the billing integrate with hotel billing system in case of the stand-alone option?
A: The hotel billing system would need to have an interface to Asterisk. Asterisk supports CDR (Call Detail Record), so if the billing system has an IP interface it can easily be integrated into Asterisk.
Q: Does the integrated call accounting software in Complete Concierge produce itemized call billing as part of the hotel bill?
A: The complete call accounting software package built into the Complete Concierge fully supports the PMS (whether you are using the Basic Package or interfacing to an external PMS). The resultant bill is produced separately from the other hotel services bill, but it can be printed out. The Complete Concierge interface communicates directly with the external PMS and transfers the call costs for each call directly to the guest record. This is performed real time, once the call is terminated.
Q: Does this system have capability of message lights and is that possible for normal phones or kits…or does it require some special phone equipment?
A: The Xorcom IP-PBX, regardless of the PMS interface provided in the Complete Concierge, can activate message waiting lights on analog phones — it’s always had that capability. One of the reasons that our solutions are so well suited to the hospitality market is that our systems can support up to 32 analog extension ports in a single 1U chassis, which is the highest density provided in the market. In addition, we can drive a single line analog phone up to 6000 feet.
Q: Does the wake up call feature allow more than 1 call to be set per room?
A: Yes, you can set up multiple wake-up calls for a single room.
Q: Can the system support multiple wake-up calls for the same time to different rooms?
A: Yes, if the PMS supports groups, then all the rooms requesting the wake-up for the same time can be set up as a group, which will receive the wake up call simultaneously with all other members of the group.
Q: Can the telephone prompts (IVR) support multiple languages?
A: Currently, wake-up calls are available in English only. However, for all other built-in prompts multiple languages are supported. The Complete Concierge software matches the language to the guest language.
Q: Can the stand alone system be deployed in high availability for redundancy purposes?
A: Yes, using the Xorcom TwinStar option you can get redundancy for the PBX and telephony interfaces. The PMS interface integrates into the PBX, so if the failure stems from the PBX, the PMS interface (which operates from a Windows PC) will failover to the backup PBX server. A separate redundancy option needs to be implemented for the PC housing the PMS interface to remove that as a single point of failure.
Q: Wouldn’t it be possible to integrate room rate charging and a very simple reservation database into the standalone PMS? This could be very interesting for small to medium size hotels that cannot invest in Fidelio or other expensive PMS systems.
A: This recommendation has been received from almost every single small hotel with which we have been in touch. So, it is definitely part of our roadmap.
Q: Is there any security on un-barred lines? If not, what prevents the staff from using the guests phones?
A: It is possible to set up pin codes for the phones (but this is not supported by either the 3rd party PMS or Complete Concierge, and therefore needs to be handled manually).
Q: Does the stand alone system have an interface for the PBX settings or do we need additional software?
A: No additional software is required; the stand-alone system in the Basic Package has its own built-in PBX settings. We integrate Complete Concierge directly with the Asterisk operating system.
Q: Will the client run on Citrix with thin-client?
A: Yes, if you’re using a thin client with embedded Windows it will work. We have such an installation which works fine.
Q: Does Complete Concierge work only in Windows? or is there a Linux version?
A: The product will work on any standard Windows XP computer and up (it does not need to be a server). It does not work on Linux.
Q: Is there survivability in this solution?
A: PFT (Power Fail Transfer) lines are not supported. However, the integrator can take analog phone lines and double tap them for use as PFT lines behind the front desk for use in cases of catastrophic failure (in cases where TwinStar is not implemented). T1 and analog phone lines, as well as SIP trunks, can all be set up on the Xorcom PBX, which will provide alternative communication options in case one or the other of these interfaces fail.
Q: Do you have any experience with a hosted PMS or centralized system with more than one hotel?
A: We have connected with one hosted solution, but of course that was based on a Xorcom PBX. Bear in mind that we are promoting a bundled solution, which is comprised of the Xorcom PBX and the PMS interface, so it is only relevant for hosted environments which are using, or are planning to use, the Xorcom IP-PBX for the property’s telephony requirements.
Q: Is it possible to have a Web interface in place of a Windows application?
A: At the moment, the Web interface is not supported.
Q: Which are the recommended brands of IP Phones for this integration (Yealink, Polycom, etc.)?
A: Any phone supporting SIP should work fine with this system. From the wireless standpoint, we can say with conviction that the Polycom wireless units are exceptionally suited for hotels and the Complete Concierge.
Q: Have you any specific integration for IP Phones like the XML features for Aastra, Polycom or Snom for example to setup a wakeup call through a menu?
A: This is a topic on our roadmap, although we know that some of our partners have already developed this functionality for Aastra phones, for example.
Q: Does Complete Concierge integrate with Comtrol’s Lodging link?
A: We are not familiar with this particular PMS software. We know there are hundreds of PMS solutions in use today. However, we have learned in our integration process with the leading PMS software that there is a certain standard for interfacing to them. We connect over IP, so if this PMS has an IP interface we are interested in speaking with the developers of Comtrol Lodging in order to explore interoperability.
Q: Will the PMS integrate with online reservation back-end such as Expedia or travel agent databases?
A: The integration with these systems is basically middleware. In many cases the commercial PMS is already integrated with these reservation systems. Since we integrate with the PMS, this information is available to Complete Concierge as well.
Q: How does Complete Concierge compare to open source PMS alternatives that can be used with Asterisk?
A: We are not familiar with any PMS alternative that has been integrated with Asterisk and certified as interoperable by Micros Fidelio. As a matter of fact, we have been invited to speak about our PBX-PMS integration at the upcoming AstriCon event, since the organizers felt that it is an extremely interesting breakthrough into a previously untapped market.
Q: The “Innovations” product is an Asterisk based hotel/motel PBX sold under the name of “ComXchange”. How does it compare to Complete Concierge?
A: We are not familiar with this product, but it sounds like a “closed” solution, wherein there is a one-on-one option for the PBX-PMS integration. With Complete Concierge, on the other hand, the Xorcom IP-PBX can be supplied with its own stand-alone PMS, or interface with any one of a number of leading PMS solutions. This second option allows the property to leverage its existing investment in PMS and gain the new functionality of an Asterisk-based IP-PBX at the same time.
Q: What traditional hotel PBX interfaces can the product emulate?
A: We don’t concern ourselves with traditional PBX-PMS interfaces, so we don’t emulate them. We are concerned with the actual PMS interface itself, because we are using our own IP-PBX. Traditional PBXs are serial-based, we are not — we are strictly IP. So the Complete Concierge will not work over a 9-pin COM serial port.
Q: What is the PBX setup like?
A: Setup of the Xorcom PBX is very simple. That said, note that the implementation of the Xorcom PBX with PMS is supported by Xorcom in the framework of the built-in Complete Concierge maintenance agreement for the first year of operation. Each and every implementation will be supported by a Complete Concierge professional.
Q: Do you have any “Chain Approvals”?
A: We have Holiday Inn group installations, Best Western, etc. Bahia Group, which uses the Newhotel PMS, is also a customer.
Q: What do you see as your sweet spot? 100 rooms or less? Or larger?
A: We’re very competitive in the under 100 rooms market. However, note that we are also extremely competitive when you start getting above 200 rooms, since the traditional hotel PBX solutions, such as Mitel, Avaya, NEC, etc., have to price up their solutions for these properties. Our IP-PBX solutions, due to their unique system architecture, can support over 1000 lines in a single configuration.
Q: How does this compete with Mitel (price-wise and functionality-wise)?
A: The Complete Concierge is quite cost-effective when compared to the Mitel 200 and the Mitel 3300. As for the interface, Mitel has definitely set the standard for PMS interface. We emulate this to a large degree, and in addition, offer a built-in cost accounting package.
Q: What kind of certification is needed for becoming a Complete Concierge reseller?
A: If you are already a Xorcom partner, no additional certification is required. We install and configure the system for you (remotely), and provide full technical support for the first year. If you are not yet a Xorcom partner, contact us to start the process.
Q: Would you consider Complete Concierge to be a drop in replacement PBX solution, or does the interface to the PMS need to be re-written specifically for the Xorcom product?
A: We have been certified as interoperable with the leading PMS solutions, so in that respect nothing needs to be rewritten — it is already done. These interfaces are working and installed in various properties worldwide.
Q: Are there any software update fees?
A: There is an optional annual support charge that will provide the customer with software upgrades and other support. It must be purchased for every extension in the system.
Q: Do you offer technical support in Spanish?
A: ¡Por supuesto!