In the world of hotel phone systems there are really two main players now. In the past there were a few more, but with the economic down turn of 2008 the field has narrowed. Formerly, names such as Comdial, Hitachi, and Nortel were common in hotels. All of these names are either gone entirely or have moved out of the hospitality business. Comdial went bankrupt and was purchased by Vertical which completely discontinued the hospitality product line (Concierge and Innphone). Hitachi vacated the hospitality, and telephone industry. Finally, Nortel, once a common brand seen in hotels was purchased by Avaya who still supports hospitality phone systems, but their market penetration is small and the price tag is high.
This essentially left two main competitors: Mitel and PhoneSuite. Mitel has been the market leader in the hospitality industry for several decades. This has enabled them to have about an 80% share of the hospitality phone system market. However, the long time presence of Mitel also means they carry a lot of technology “baggage”. Technology baggage is when a company has been in business for a substantial amount of time and they cannot shed the old technology for new. This tends to keep them from innovating as fast as they might. Mitel’s chief competitor is PhoneSuite. Until about 2012 one could not really say they competed on the same level. PhoneSuite has always been a solidly build, American, product, but the system was designed for small property’s and had several major limitations. Among these was an archaic voice mail system and the limit of 8 office or staff telephones. However, with the introduction of the fully VoIP VoiceWare 1 and the subsequent VoiceWare 2 PhoneSuite is able to offer an incredible system with all the bells and whistles expected by today’s hotel manager or owner.
So, the hotel phone system market is split between Mitel and PhoneSuite. Both are good products that will fill the need of any hotel. Mitel tends to be thought of as the “gold standard”, but there is a price tag with that. PhoneSuite tends to be more of a value purchase, but with the new VoiceWare 2 system on the market there really are no compromises as there were in the past. However, as readers are likely aware, your flag may limit your purchase to approved systems. PhoneSuite is approved for Choice, IHG, and Best Western, and likely more flags soon. But if you have a Hilton, Marriott, or another flag you may be limited to Mitel at this time.
There are other hotel phone systems on the market such as, TransTel, NEC, and Cisco, but they are a very small percentage of the marketplace. Most hoteliers seem to be satisfied with quotes from Mitel and PhoneSuite. If you are in independent brand you may want to look at some of these other brands of hotel phone systems, particularly TransTel as the price is always competitive. However, systems from NEC and Cisco may be what you need too, but they tend to be more expensive than the other brands mentioned. Transtel is limited to essentially all analog and digital technology while the other brands mentioned in this article all mix VoIP and digital or analog technology.
Being based in Tampa, but with branch offices in Austin and Mobile, CSM is familiar with the hospitality industry as tourism is a major part of our regions’ economy. Contact CSM today to learn more about hotel phone systems.