Hosted PBX systems (true Voice Over IP–VOIP) have been around for many years. In the business world companies like Warner Consulting Group have been using them since early 2000. Hosted gives the business a lower cost to entry and more flexibility in troubleshooting, product, and control of the system. Hotels were not able to adapt as many companies were not prepared for PMS or POS interfaces, call accounting, and a few other hospitality specific products. As with any technology, things are finally coming around.
Our difficulty in being an early adopter was the basic principle of competition. If the company we went with did not succeed, the hotel had few to no options. The primary success of these companies in 2011 will be that there finally is competition giving the hotel redundancy in providers if one should fail. Given the economic climate (companies going in and out of business) and development of the technology this is no longer the case. We have competition.
One key factor in the validity of the product now is maturity. Like any technology, it needed to go through its growing pains. With the bugs behind us hotels now can implement the technology with some confidence of a working product. The other key factor is cost. Hosted PBX system cost less than a traditional phone system and allow hotels to save money on their monthly expenses as well. There are many pieces and parts that make up this statement but on the whole, less money for a like product.
The hosted PBX is still not for every hotel. Full service properties have more difficulty given the complexity of the property. How, limited service seem to fit the profile of a hosted PBX given the fewer amount of rooms, interfaces, and simplicity of the property. If you are looking to replace a phone system or install a new one, consider a hosted PBX in your proposals. If your phone system is working fine, stick with it as long as you can.