Call Accounting: Setup and Trouubleshooting
Posted by Jeff Tweddale on 07 Dec 2016 08:40 PM
Prep Work Before Installing a BookingCenter Call Accounting System
Get to know the layout of the PBX to server to LAN lines. Does it have two DB9 (typical serial PC port connectors)? Usually, older PBX systems will be configured with a DB25 connector and this needs to be converted to a DB9 or a USB on a new PC.
Find out PBX type, speed, and port (port it will connect to the PC), (baudRate, DataBits, StopBits, Parity)- these are the preferred ways of sending data for the PBX that will be known the manufacturer of the PBX or the Telecom representative.
Purchase a Call Accounting package from BookingCenter.
Connecting the PBX to the Call Accounting PC
On a typical DB25, the pins used are pin
2 (transmit), 3 (receive), and 7 (ground). On DB9, the pins used are pin 3 (transmit), 2 (receive), and 5 (ground).
If connecting to the PC's DB9, get a straight-through cable or DB25 to DB9 converter that converts the DB25 pins 2 (transmit), 3 (receive), and 7 (ground) to the appropriate DB9 pins 3 (transmit), 2 (receive), and 5 (ground). Note, you will NOT need a null modem if the card on the PBX was wired correct. If the card was 'pinned' like a PC, you will need a NULL MODEM. However, if the talcum folks did things right, the Null Modem is NOT required.
Find out the PBX data speed and type
If 300 characters looks like garbage, the baud is set too fast. 300 is the preferred way for most Call Accounting systems to get SMDR.
How to see if the PC is getting data?
There is a serial port tester available from Radio Shack can make troubleshooting easier. It costs $14 - it will show the transmit (pin 2) and receiving (pin 5) Pins 2 and 5 are the key points. On most computers, the Top Port is COMM Port 1, Bottom Port is COMM Port 2. USB ports are usually configured as COMM 3 and 4, and we have had luck getting USB to DB9/25 connectors to work out OK.
The best way to do this is to use a port viewer to see if the PC Port is actually getting SMDR. The common 'port analyzer' tool on Windows is called Hyperterminal.
Access Hyperterminal at: Programs -> Accessories -> Communications
Open and choose New Connection. Name the connection whatever you like, click Connect Using and choose the port to be monitored to see SMDR coming from the PBX. If you can see SMDR coming INTO the computer via Hyperterminal, then the Call Accounting should take over from there.
Setting Phone Fees/Costs
Find out the rates to be charged for connection and minutes, do so for local, toll, long distance, and international. Make a list of all rooms and the corresponding extension. Make a list of all Administrator phones and find out if the property wants them costed to a cost center. Usually, Admin calls will NOT be posted to the PMS.
Setup Metropolis Steps
Install Metropolis. Use the Setup | Installation Wizard. Choose the following:
Register: enter data exactly according to the email/fax Product Registration received from Metropolis. Keep this record for use in case you need to re-install it!
Communications: PBX communications (PBX hookup) receive from the COM Port the PBX is attached to - use the default rates or the help above.
Hotel Identifier needs to be placed on the PMS Codes area of the Setup: you will need this code provided by BookingCenter support if you are using MyPMS. The Hotel Identifier is irrelevant if using the Desktop PMS.
Post Format - for both Desktop and MyPMS, use HOBIC 2001 and choose YES to Block Check.
DataSpy lets you see what Metropolis sees - basically, SMDR coming into the computer. Use the Data Spy to verify that data is actually coming in.
PBX: choose your PBX from the list. Use the basic Mitel for all Mitel brands (the MOST common in the USA)
Departments - this is where the setup of special Guests and Admin extensions occur. Keep all Non-guest extensions as Administration and all Guests extensions as Guests.
EXTENSIONS - extensions don't need to be set for each room. All non-defined calls will default to Guest calls. Make sure you define all extensions for ADMINISTARTION and they will be ignored.
Rates - choose the Admin and usually do NOT cost those calls. Choose the Guest rates and make the rate plan and % increase and the surcharge (charge placed on each call) as the manager directs.
Turn ON Persistent Connection (PMS Setup--Under Misc Tab, choose ON the PMS uses a persistent internet connection) You may want to set the following:
We recommend setting up Metropolis to run as background application. This way, Metropolis will always be running regardless of whether or not a user remembers to launch it or the /Startup Items/ loads. Download the instructions for doing this here. The recent version will minimize itself after 10 minutes of inactivity.
If you need to setup multiple extensions in a single room, BookingCenter only allows one phone extension per room, but Metropolis allows you to 'map' additional extensions to the individual extension BookingCenter is polling for.
In ProfitWatch, under Setup | Property Management , choose translate extensions and map the proper extension. For example, if both phone extensions 220 and 7220 are in room 220, you would choose 7220 to 'map' to 220 and all calls from either extension 220 or 7220 would both be posted to the Account in the 'Active' Room 220.
If you get in trouble, call the Metropolis Support line ((858) 488-4600) and they will help you through anything.
Setup Cash Plus
One of the reasons we like Hansen Software's Cash Plus system (besides being cheaper) is that they setup the system for you! All you need to do is tell them the Hotel Identifier (a 3 - digit code BookingCenter will provide for you) and the IP address and port (again, BookingCenter will provide for you) and they will get the system setup - per your desires - and tested for you. As simple as that!
Setup BookingCenter for Call Accounting
For BookingCenter Desktop PMS you need to configure BookingCenter to post Calls to the bookings and to poll the Call Accounting software.
Desktop PMS Users ONLY!
All calls placed to an active booking in a room with an extension will now be added to the Account section of the Active Booking Detail.
For MyPMS users, contact http://support.bookingcenter.com/ and we will set up your account to accept posted calls.
Troubles with Automatic Call Accounting Polling
Desktop BookingCenter: If you receive an error when launching the Call Accounting BookingCenter Management computer that tells you the preferences file (.prf) can't be loaded, then the problem can be solved. This will happen if the .df1 (your BookingCenter datafile) is NOT inside the / BookingCenter / folder and you are trying to keep the Call Accounting system polling correctly.
How to solve the problem? Simply make sure the BookingCenter application and your datafile are all inside the / BookingCenter / folder computer and that the Parameter | Call Accounting | Call Folder is set and the computer is set to be the "Call Manager" computer. Then restart BookingCenter and the .prf error message should have gone away and the Call Accounting polling will begin working again.
MyPMS: If calls are not posting to the correct rooms, and instead are posting to the House Account, there is likely a setup error in the 'Room' setup. Simply go to Setup | Rooms | and find the correct Room Type that the Room belongs to. Choose that Room Type and then the actual Room where calls are not posting automatically. The Room's 'CRS Code' must match the extension number that the Call Accounting system is using. If the CRS code and the phone extension are not identical, the call gets posted to the House Account for manual intervention.
Still having troubles? Contact http://support.bookingcenter.com/ and we will help you with accepting posted calls.
Need to Re-install the Call Accounting program?
If you need to re-install the Call Accounting software your property is using, download it from the appropiate website (www.Metropolis.com). Use the registration info you were given when you purchased the Call Accounting program to re-install it. If you have LOST the registration info, you can contact Metropolis or CommSoft to get it.
It's best to try and NOT re-format a hard drive BEFORE making a backup of your data. Simply follow the instructions below, if you are using Metropolis ProfitWatch .
For advanced users who REALLY want to keep a record of all the old, billed calls that were stored in Metropolis, you can copy the entire 'Call History' from the old system before loosing it. This is usually not required and do this only as a last resort, realizing that it can become a painful Exercise!!! The file is called 'watch.db' and can be copied to the new installation of /ProfitWatch/ once the new version is up & running. Choose 'Clear PMS buffer' so that any old sued PMS calls do not transfer once again.
To auto-backup ProfitWatch and it's settings, understand that ProfitWatch backs up automatically each night at midnight. In the /ProfitWatch/Backlup you will see 3 folders.
If you add to your backup routine the copying of these files, you will be ready if an emergency event occurs.