Conquering Communication Gaps with Relay

An employee wearing Relay, pushing an elevator button.


Fairfield and TownePlace Suites of Norfolk were in search of a panic solution to meet Marriott’s brand mandate. When they discovered Relay was a panic button, two-way communication device, and translator all in one, they were hooked. Now, the hotel complies with brand requirements and the staff can communicate in real-time from anywhere.

Hotel Meets Panic Solution Mandate with 3-in-1 Solution

Fairfield and TownePlace Suites of Norfolk is a dual brand property combining traditional hotel rooms and extended-stay hotel rooms in Northeast Nebraska with an indoor pool, fitness center, and meeting space. Each extended stay room has a fully equipped kitchen, designated work desk, and high-speed internet access, allowing guests to feel at home while they travel. With additional services like dry cleaning, laundry, and complimentary hot breakfast, Fairfield and TownePlace Suites of Norfolk encourages guests to comfortably balance work with life. When Marriott announced that all of its locations needed to implement personal alert devices for housekeepers and other employees to carry, Fairfield and TownePlace Suites of Norfolk started researching Marriott’s approved panic solution distributors.

Cell Phones: Inefficient for Real-Time Messages

Prior to the mandate, the staff at Fairfield and TownePlace Suites of Norfolk had no panic solution in place and relied on cell phones to communicate with one another. This wasn’t efficient for the hotel’s operations because it was common for staff to put down their phones or have them turned off all together. Without a designated communications system in place, staff would waste time pausing the tasks they were doing to walk down to the front desk and ask a question or pass along information. Fairfield and TownePlace Suites of Norfolk’s General Manager, Sara Dahlkoetter, had used traditional radios to communicate at past properties. With their bulk, added weight, breakable antennas, and range issues, the radios weren’t much better.

Relay to the Rescue

As soon as Sara got her hands on a Relay device, she knew her communications experience would be different this time. Relay quickly proved its worth when a night shift employee had a medical emergency just weeks after Relay was implemented. The employee triggered a panic alert with their Relay device, which alerted Sara on her phone. Even though it was 1:30am and she was at home, Sara quickly jumped into action to help her employee. Management being able to help from anywhere at any time has been a comfort to the hotel staff.

During a similar situation with a guest, Fairfield and TownePlace Suites of Norfolk’s Front Desk Manager, Nicole Hoffart, knew triggering a panic alert would be the fastest way to notify the head of housekeeping of a medical emergency, who is also a Certified Nursing Assistant. “When I hit the panic button, she knew where I was and came down immediately,” shared Nicole. “We ended up having to call 911. The guest is fine but Relay really helped expedite us knowing what to do. I was really glad I could communicate with our housekeeping manager and be on the phone with 911 at the same time.”

More than Just a Panic Solution

Nicole was hooked on Relay the moment she heard it not only satisfied the panic solution mandate, but also had communication and translation capabilities. Fairfield and TownePlace Suites of Norfolk has a number of Spanish and Ukrainian speaking employees. In the past, translating has been slow with the use of apps or calling in bilingual employees. Now team members can communicate with the press of a button. “Relay brought us closer together as a team, we’re always in constant communication and there is no delay,” shared Nicole. Even guests are intrigued. Nicole explains to visitors, “It’s how I communicate with my team. It’s a safety device and it’s a translator.” Relay’s language translation capability has also made it easier to speak with potential applicants and hotel guests. The implementation process went smoothly for the entire staff, and bilingual team members have complimented Relay’s accurate translations.

“Relay is everything it’s advertised to be: it’s small, it’s compact, and it’s a neutral color. I wish we would have had these when we first opened, I just love it that much.”
– Nicole Hoffart, Front Desk Manager at Fairfield and TownePlace Suites of Norfolk

Upgrading Communications in Style

With Relay, it’s now easier than ever for Sara to reach department leaders. Employees have had no issues keeping their Relay device within reach due to its small, lightweight design. Sara has already noticed her team ask questions sooner, rather than wait until they next see someone in-person. Communicating with the maintenance team who is frequently outside of the hotel has also become more convenient. In the past, it was difficult to reach them because of the lack of range and low volume on traditional radios.

Sara also expressed how professional Relay looks compared to a cell phone, “if somebody’s at the front desk just typing away on their phone, guests don’t know what they’re doing.” She continued, “hearing a voice come through on the other end of a Relay is definitely helpful. It gives guests the reassurance that we’re gonna fix their issue.”

“We love our Relays here. I would 10/10 choose these over a traditional radio any day of the week.”
– Sara Dahlkoetter, General Manager at Fairfield and TownePlace Suites of Norfolk

fairfield and towneplace suites logo
  • 90 guest rooms

  • 60% Fairfield Inn rooms and 40% TownePlace Extended Stay Suites

  • Within close proximity of Downtown Norfolk



To meet Marriott’s brand mandate for personal alert devices, Fairfield and TownePlace Suites of Norfolk began searching for a panic solution.


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