How To Streamline Your Hospitality Business with Unified Communications

Updated: June 24th, 2024

Few areas of businesses are as dependent on guest satisfaction and the opinions of the customer base as the hospitality landscape, which is why these businesses need to maximise their internal and external communication efforts to deliver the best service possible. Sadly, though, hospitality companies often face a slew of negative feedback and reviews due to seemingly inefficient processes that keep the customers uninformed or waiting for longer than they should for information and services that should be delivered promptly. On a large scale, this represents a nail in the coffin for countless companies that fail to change with the times and up their communication efforts.

Specifically, if such businesses are still reliant on outdated, legacy technology that needlessly slows processes, this will surely create a domino effect that negatively affects interactions with the customer, leading them to look elsewhere. That’s where Unified Communications comes in. A modern, reliable solution for internal and external business communication, thousands of companies worldwide have already made the switch to cloud-based technology, with more joining the ranks every day (and reaping the rewards). 

But what exactly is Unified Communications, how can it assist hospitality businesses in their day-to-day and raise their customer experience? If your existing infrastructure is letting you down and it’s time for a change, keep reading.

Unified Communications Hospitality - Elite Group

What is Unified Communications (UC)?

An all-encompassing digital communications solution, Unified Communications platforms consolidate all essential forms of communication a business needs to operate in the 21st century into a single, easy-to-use application. Comprising of text, email, instant messaging, file transfers, video conferencing and more, both ground-level workers and higher management have access to all the communication tools they require to stay connected and productive at all times. Plus, because the solution is cloud-based, it can be accessed on virtually any digital device (including mobile devices) with an internet connection; ideal for those working in the field rather than the office.

Think of Unified Communications solutions as a speed dial for all your communications tools – you don’t need to go scrambling around looking for a phone number you wrote down weeks ago, because you already have everything ready at your fingertips, all in one convenient location. Simply press a button and you’re good to go. Makes sense, right?

Unified Communications Hospitality - Elite Group

The Benefits of Unified Communications in the Hospitality Sector

Consistency Across Locations

When a hospitality business is fortunate enough to operate across multiple locations, consistency in communication systems across said locations is essential if information is to be shared effectively. However, inconsistency in the way teams communicate across geographical distances can cause confusion, resulting in important information being missed. For example, hotel staff in one location may prefer to share important updates via email and calendar invites, while another may opt for the instant messaging approach. If everyone isn’t following the same protocol, it’s likely someone, somewhere won’t be kept in the know.

To make matters worse, if the information being shared across different locations is sensitive customer information and it is not being kept in a single approved internal system, this increases the risk of data being leaked (more on this in a moment).

However, Unified Communications offers a solution to this inconsistency in hospitality communication and the dangers it presents. By opting for a single, company-wide communications system and implementing these processes across all locations, hospitality businesses can ensure that all team members – no matter where they fall on the business hierarchy – can be kept informed on all essential updates across all or individual locations, as necessary. This minimises the risk of messaging being missed and should help everyone on the team remain productive, with the information they need to perform their role effectively and serve their customers. 

Cost Cutting

Unnecessary expenditure within the hospitality industry is common, which is why business leaders need to do everything they can to cut costs and funnel as much cash back into the business to help it grow. A good example of such expenditure is the amount of food waste produced by the average hospitality business in the UK, with £50,000 worth of food going to landfills annually, according to data from Catering Insight. However, one area such businesses can look to save money is with their communications spending, especially those with larger teams and various locations.

Many businesses unwittingly spend a small fortune on communications technology every year, with multiple subscriptions to such services as video conferencing, file transferring and more. However, thanks to Unified Communications, this needless spending can become a thing of the past. As UC platforms house all the communications tools a modern hospitality business needs to remain productive across all branches, there is no need for numerous subscription costs to leave the business bank account every month. Instead, these other services can be cancelled, with all communication needs being handled by a single, simple application with a simple, easy-to-manage monthly cost. Not only does this save cash, but it also makes the work of finance managers far easier and creates a clearer, more transparent view of comms spending.

Heightened Security Standards

With over 350 million people affected by data breaches in 2023 alone, according to data from Governing, many businesses are understandably concerned about the risks involved in managing sensitive customer data, and the consequences of an accidental leak. In the hospitality industry specifically, travel agents, hotel chains and other similar franchises are charged with the responsibility of accepting large numbers of payments using sensitive customer data – including credit card data and personal details, which could have devastating consequences if they fall into the wrong hands.

However, whether they’re discussing sensitive personal or financial information with customers or fellow staff members, employees using a Unified Communications system can rest easy knowing all shared information is protected. As UC systems are cloud-based and rely on Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology, they aren’t prone to the same vulnerabilities as systems powered by traditional phone lines. On top of this, all data shared across Unified Communications platforms is fully encrypted, meaning the data is scrambled in transit, making it unreadable to anyone but the intended recipient. So even if a hacker was able to breach the system and capture customer data while it travelled through cyberspace, it would be completely useless. Plus, when taken as Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), a third-party provider is charged with the security of the entire system, which can also offer peace of mind to large-scale hospitality businesses, knowing the defence of their data is in the hands of trained IT professionals.

Better Teamwork Capabilities

86% of employees believe a lack of effective collaboration across teams is key to workplace failures, according to data from leadership firm Fierce. Teamwork is clearly essential at ground level in hospitality environments with a customer-facing focus, but the importance of teamwork behind the scenes among team leaders, management staff and across different office locations cannot be understated. 

Unfortunately, effective collaboration across departments and locations can suffer due to the separation of individuals and teams. While video conferencing (also a key feature of UC systems) can provide the opportunity for more personal-feeling teamwork, it isn’t always ideal to allow team members to view important updates as and when they happen. However, Unified Communications systems have this issue covered, too. UC systems often feature interactive digital collaboration environments that can be accessed by anyone in the company with the correct authorisation, allowing everyone to keep a live track of project updates or important messaging, ensuring no step goes unnoticed to the benefit of everyone involved. Better still, these environments can be accessed by anyone in any location with a stable internet connection, meaning teams working across multiple locations or offices – or even remote workers – can always have a live view of progress and can act on it accordingly for the benefit of the wider business.

Improved Insights

Hospitality businesses that interact with or view customers over the phone or via digital means – such as live chat or webpage views – need to be able to track specific aspects of the customer journey so they can make informed decisions on how to further push the business and boost sales. But hospitality businesses, such as property rental services or theme parks, that have no effective means of monitoring customer activity are depriving themselves of data that is essential in developing their own success and ensuring they continue to outgrow the competition.

Luckily, many Unified Communications systems offer such insights. By being able to monitor such indicators as customer call times, conversion rates, instant messaging and more, as well as being able to integrate Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems into the platform, hospitality businesses can arm themselves with all the information they need to see what is working best and where improvements need to be made.

Unified Communications Hospitality - Elite Group

Boost Customer Satisfaction and Explore Unified Communications for Hospitality Businesses with Elite Group

If Unified Communications sounds like the change your hospitality business has been looking for, speak with Elite Group today. Our team has decades of combined experience in the business technology space and the experience you need to onboard Unified Communications without fear of hold-ups or excessive downtime.

With Elite Group, you will be assigned a dedicated account manager who will take on the responsibility of overseeing your UC project from beginning to end – and beyond. They will ensure your new systems remain fit for purpose and will implement any changes that are necessary as your experiences with the system develop. They will also manage regular updates, ensuring security protocols remain up to scratch, so you don’t have to. As your first port of call, you can report any issues that arise directly to your account manager, though most issues can be solved within a matter of minutes remotely, so you can continue with your important tasks.

As a certified Microsoft partner, as well as sharing partnerships with several other prestigious technology organisations, Elite Group are your go-to expert for all things communications technology and are trusted by the biggest brands in the business.

To find out more about Unified Communications and what it could do for you, speak to an Elite Group expert today.