One tough decision that plagues many homeowners of vacation rental properties is the type of phone service to offer to their renters. The first thing to consider is which companies serve your area. You can answer this question quickly by searching the websites of various local cable and phone providers and entering the exact address of your property. You may be left with fewer choices than you originally thought!
The second issue to consider is the different types of services offered. A popular choice is digital phone packaged with cable and high speed Internet. In some cases the provider will not even offer digital phone without bundling it with other services, so this could also affect your choice of phone plans.
Digital Phone Service
If you are already satisfied with your cable and Internet providers, or you are locked into a contract, starting a new bundle just to add digital phone may not be the appropriate choice for you. Another disadvantage of the digital phone service is that your guests will be out of luck if the power goes out.
Whereas digital phone service comes through cable lines, an analog phone works with phone jacks in the wall — it's the old fashioned kind. This is another option worth considering if a bundle is not for you or power outages are a major concern.
Analog Phone Service
Before committing to a phone service, it is important to question whether this is a necessary or value-added feature for your home. If most of your guests have cell phones and the coverage in your area is good, adding long-distance phone service might not be a worthwhile investment. In that case, you could simply offer local service on your land line, and set up a block on long distance or 900-number calls.
To Offer or Not To Offer Long-Distance Service
On the other hand, if you are in a remote area with poor cell phone reception or many of your guests may expect long-distance phone service to be provided (for example, if you rent to seniors that may not have a cell phone), this could be a necessity for your vacation home.
You may also be considering a VOIP service like Skype or Vonage that allows users to place calls through the Internet. This does address the long distance calling issue; however, these services do not allow calls to 911. Furthermore, a 911 operator will not be able to identify the address from a cell phone or an Internet service, and in many cases the renters will not remember the address off-hand. It is a must to always have a land line in your vacation properties for emergency situations.
Calls to 911
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