VSi Retrofits Payphones with Internet Kiosks to Ring in Revenues

  • Vertical Systems Inc.
  • 12.06.06
Vertical Systems Inc., a leading hospitality provider of guest service technologies, is converting hotel payphone areas to Internet kiosks, enabling guests to surf the Web, send and receive e-mail, send text messages to mobile phones, print airline boarding passes and make telephone calls without structure modification or downtime.

Called VistaPoint™, the solution is available to guests 24/7/365 and can be offered as a free guest service or as a revenue generator for bleeding telecommunications departments.

“The issue isn’t whether or not to replace pay phones with Internet kiosks, but rather how a hotel can utilize existing public payphone space without incurring the additional cost of dismantling the structure,” said Saeed Kazmi, VSi president. “Retrofitting the area will immediately provide a highly desirable convenience to hotel guests without incurring any additional cost. It’s an ideal solution for operators and travelers alike.”
According to Robert Stoutenburgh, president of Future Technologies and a noted hospitality telecommunications consultant, over the past five to 10 years most of the telephone companies stopped supporting pay phones in hotels due to lack of use. 
 
“Like in guestrooms, cell phones have replaced the pay phone,” Stoutenburg said. “When the local exchange carriers started their phone removal programs, we started installing house phones to replace them. House phones were programmed to allow external credit card calling and that seemed to fully meet the guests' need at a very minimal expense for the hotels.”
 
Steve Woodward, president of hospitality technology services group Centrada Solutions LLC, agreed, saying that he believes there are guest-service benefits to turning payphone banks into Internet kiosks.
 
“Compared to five years ago, significantly fewer pay phones are installed in hotels today.  It is not that the hotels don't want them, the phone companies’ profits have bottomed out because of the proliferation of cell phones and they have removed them from the hotels,” Woodward said. “Providing instant information access to guests via Internet kiosk is significant, especially if the station gives guests the ability to use them to check flights, print boarding passes, access e-mail, etc.  Providing these types of guest services that are specific and require a minimal amount of time to access will be the most utilized.”
 
The most popular form of business communication used by Gen-Xers (consumers between the ages of 20 and 40) is e-mail, VSi’s Kazmi said. E-mail provides the instantaneous communications this group desires. When it comes to travel transactions, such as hotel reservation confirmations or pre-stay marketing promotions, providing online information access at multiple points throughout a hotel is a critical component to a hotel’s guest-service program. 
 
“Travelers of all ages, but Gen-Xers in particular, want to have services delivered their way, right away,” Kazmi said. “Hotels that are not providing the information access tools that Gen-X travelers demand, including the personalized guest services and amenities they expect will lose considerably.
 
“By offering complimentary and paid services on VistaPoint, hotels can increase guest satisfaction and generate additional revenues,” he said. “In addition, VistaPoint offers a great venue for branding hotel’s and third-party product and services.”
 
Kazmi said VSi new product enhancements to VistaPoint are being finalized which will enable hotels to use the screensaver feature on VistaPoint to promote hotel specials and packages or sell marketing/advertising positions to local retailers, restaurants and event planners to generate additional revenue. The screen also can be split into multiple windows to maximize promotional/sales opportunities. 
 
“Simply stated, VistaPoint will allow hotels to maximize their underutilized payphone space with no upfront, out-of-pocket expense,” Kazmi said. “Whether the hotels offer free services, paid services or airline boarding pass printing, the bottom line is increased guest satisfaction. Giving guests immediate access to information will result in immediate revenue generation because it is a sure fire way to drive guest loyalty and generate repeat business.”
 
VSi is well known throughout the hospitality industry for its business center and self-service solutions, such as:  Internet kiosks, lobby PCs, BoardEZ™ airline boarding pass printing kiosks, digital messaging display systems and in-room PC solutions. All VSi computing solutions are specifically designed for multiple, non-repeat usage. 
 
For example, when a guest logs off after using a VistaPoint™ Internet kiosk, the computer's entire system is completely rebuilt and a new Windows operating system, factory settings and applications are loaded. As a result, all the user’s files, personal data and usage history are permanently erased, thereby ensuring the user absolute information security and privacy. Additionally, in rebuilding the system after each use, any user-loaded non-standard programs (viruses or spyware) that might jeopardize future system or guest security or cause ongoing support and maintenance issues, are also deleted. This proprietary functionality makes the VSi solution ideal for environments such as the hospitality market, where multiple users log on to the same public computer.
 
VistaPoint™ can support a host of solutions, including credit card mechanisms for international calling, keyboards for sending/receiving emails and printers for producing airline boarding passes through the VSi BoardEZ™ solution.

The system comes complete with 24/7/365 remote management and live toll-free customer support, full maintenance and warranty coverage, along with installation assistance. 


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