Hostelling Scotland

The charity reduces its IT maintenance burden, improves its resilience and more, by switching to RingCentral.
Hostelling Scotland logo
Daisy logo

Providing affordable and welcoming accommodation across Scotland

Hostelling Scotland is a not-for-profit charity with more than 60 youth and affiliate hostels in some of the best locations across Scotland. Since 1931, it’s been offering a warm welcome and expert local knowledge to people travelling from all over the world, keen to explore and experience the real Scotland. 
The charity runs large hostels, which are open 365 days a year, as well as smaller hostels in more remote locations, which might only be open 6 to 8 months of the year. Consequently, it also has a distributed workforce.

The burden of maintaining on-premises phone systems

Hostelling Scotland was struggling with a disjointed and ageing communications stack. At its HQ and four major youth hostels, it was operating an on-premises phone and contact centre system, which was reliant on PSTN and ISDN lines. 
These were essentially five separate standalone systems, which all had to be managed separately, causing issues for the organisation’s small IT team. Some of these instances were running old versions of the software and would need substantial investment to bring them up to the latest version. On top of that, there was the looming PSTN switch-off.
At the more remote, seasonal hostels, there was a mixture of communications infrastructure in place, including regular ADSL, satellite connections, and 4G broadband. 
When the pandemic hit, the challenges only got worse. The IT team at Hostelling Scotland was forced to build an in-house VoIP server so that employees could stay in touch with each other while working remotely. It was clear that things needed to change.
We were having to implement make-shift solutions before, but now with RingCentral we have an all-in-one solution that handles everything.

George Will

IT Manager, Hostelling Scotland

Working with a trusted partner

The IT Manager at Hostelling Scotland looked to trusted IT partner, Daisy Corporate Services, to guide them towards a better solution. Daisy has been providing services to the organisation for over ten years – including phone lines, broadband, and guest WiFi – so Hostelling Scotland knew the firm could deliver a solution that would meet its needs.

Switching to RingCentral was cost neutral

After carefully evaluating all the options, Daisy recommended Hostelling Scotland switch to RingCentral’s cloud-based MVP (Message, Video, Phone) and Contact Centre solutions. Ronnie McCabe, Daisy’s Account Manager in Scotland, explained how they came to the decision:
“When we were looking at the solutions from a technical and a commercial perspective, and  taking into account all of Hostelling Scotland's requirements, RingCentral was clearly the best option for them. We were able to demonstrate that the cost of switching was almost cost neutral, when you took into account the expense of upgrading the old on-premises system.”
The team decided to rollout RingCentral first to the locations already operating the on-premises system: the Head Office in Stirling, and the youth hostels in Stirling, Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh. The next stage will see the remaining 40 youth hostels connected.
Ronnie highlighted the collaboration between all three partners – Daisy, RingCentral and Hostelling Scotland – as fundamental to the success of this implementation. “Our RingCentral contact, Chris Goryn (Business Development Manager) was fantastic. He provided lots of information and answered all of our questions and George’s questions.”

The benefits of a cloud phone and contact centre solution

Ease of use and administration 

Although RingCentral has only been implemented at five sites so far, Hostelling Scotland is already seeing significant benefits. George explains: 
“The difference between the old system and RingCentral is night and day.” says George. “I tried managing the ‘original’ on-premises system myself and it was problematic, but now I can go in through the admin portal and easily manage the phone system and contact centre myself, without needing continual support from Daisy.”
In fact, the whole team is finding RingCentral easy to use, which is reducing George’s workload and enabling staff to be more self-sufficient: “All of our staff embraced it. There wasn’t the big learning curve we experienced with the previous system. Truthfully, it required very little training from me, which was a very pleasant surprise. The amount of time saved from this and not having to deal with the telephone system on a regular basis, has been substantial.”

Reliability and resilience

When Hostelling Scotland was reliant on the standalone on-premises systems, communication lines were vulnerable to hardware faults. Something as simple as a fan breaking on hardware, could lead to two–three days of downtime while they waited for the part to be ordered and the engineer to come out and fix it. “With RingCentral’s cloud-based solution, we’ve now got much better reliability and resilience within our communications systems,” says George. 

Hybrid working

One other major benefit of switching to RingCentral has been that staff can now work efficiently from anywhere. The Operations team – who are rarely in the office because they’re often out  working at various youth hostels – can now handle all their calls using just the RingCentral desktop app and a wireless headset. 
The organisation is also using RingCentral Video for its team manager calls and end of month meetings, so people can be in different places but still be part of the same meeting.

Customer experience

Once RingCentral has been rolled out to all youth hostels, Hostelling Scotland will be able to provide customers with one number to ring for any enquiry, and ensure that there is always a team member to answer every call. This is not the case now.
The organisation is also looking at integrating the RingCentral chat function into its website. This would mean it could provide a 24/7 service for customers, who may live all over the world, and a more affordable communications option than international phone calls.
Therefore, the charity has high hopes that RingCentral will dramatically improve the customer experience and the service that it can provide. 

Energy savings

One final but important benefit experienced, is that by moving away from having five separate on-premises systems to power, Hostelling Scotland has managed to reduce its energy use. This obviously has positive environmental and economic benefits.

Extending RingCentral across the organisation

Hostelling Scotland is now focussing on expanding its communications system by rolling out RingCentral to the remaining 40 youth hostels, many of which need broadband installing first. This is something that wouldn’t have been possible with the old on-premises set-up. 
With a telephone system the primary aim is to get everybody together, making seamless communication much easier. The previous system, would never have allowed us to do that, but with RingCentral, this is definitely possible and so far, it’s met all our core objectives and more.

George Will

IT Manager, Hostelling Scotland