Elevating Luxury and Streamlining Communications with Relay

Room service delivering Champagne and food to a guest.


The Ritz Carlton Club & Residences in San Francisco, known for its elegance and top-tier service, discovered Relay while searching for a panic solution. Beyond compliance, Relay has helped the downtown property streamline resident and guest requests in a more discreet manner.

A valet worker wearing Relay helping a guest unload luggage from their car.

24/7 Grandeur at Ritz Carlton Club & Residences

The luxurious Ritz Carlton Club & Residences is a 19th century architectural gem set within San Francisco’s Financial District. Close to Union Square and Chinatown, Oracle Park or Fisherman’s Wharf are just a quick cable car ride away. The building, featuring 76 full-time residences and 25 destination club units across 26 floors, was restored in 2006.

Bulky isn’t Practical

In the past, Ritz Carlton Club & Residences relied on traditional radios to communicate. They had been using a sleek, cell-phone-like model until it was discontinued by the property’s vendor. Employees did not want to switch back to the bulky units they were using before, so they continued to rely on the breaking-down slim versions. This resulted in poor communication. When Marriott announced that all of its locations needed staff to carry around personal alert devices, Ritz Carlton Club & Residences started looking into Marriott’s approved distributors.

Solving Two Problems with One Device

The building’s decision makers quickly felt that Relay was the right choice against competitors because of its additional communication capabilities. Thus, solving two problems with one device. We chatted with Elgin Thomas, the Director of Engineering at Ritz Carlton Club & Residences, who has been with Marriott for 35 years. Well-versed in the needs of luxury buildings’ staff and guests, he pointed out that Relay’s lightweight design was also really appealing since weight was a primary pain point for most of the staff.

“To get your panic alert and your radio in one device is huge.”
– Elgin Thomas, the Director of Engineering at Ritz Carlton Club & Residences

With Relay’s nationwide coverage, the property can even communicate with its house-car driver who picks up and drops off residents throughout the city. Elgin said, “we are able to communicate with the driver anywhere. Before, we couldn’t do that. Once they left the property it was dead silent.” Other benefits to Relay are its better connection and lower costs. Now double the amount of employees are equipped with a communication device. Elgin shared that employees were skeptical of Relay at first, “but once they had it and used it, they never wanted to go back to the old platform.”

Handling Resident Expectations with Ease

Thankfully, the property has not yet needed to use Relay’s panic and emergency response capabilities, but it’s been nice knowing it’s available. Should an injury occur or fire alarm be pulled, whoever reaches the situation first can use the panic button to summon help and alert the rest of the team of their current location.

While the main driver for implementing a new solution was meeting Marriott’s panic solution mandate, Relay’s other capabilities have surpassed all expectations. Elgin especially enjoys having access to Relay’s app and dashboard. Having the app means he can communicate and receive alerts on his phone, rather than having to carry multiple devices. He also uses the app to see where people are, so he can send the closest employee to complete a work order request. On the dashboard, Elgin can see what devices are online, which have low battery, and set channels for new users.

When it comes to day-to-day tasks, valet is the heaviest user of Relay. “It’s great because the front desk calls and requests the cars and if all the valet guys are busy, any of us can jump in and help based on what we’re hearing on the radio versus them having to reach out for help,” says Elgin. Relay is also used to streamline the connection between front desk and housekeeping. Elgin explains, “The front desk switches from the main channel to the housekeeping channel to tell them that guests have checked out, we have a new guest arriving, or a guest needs something like Diet Pepsi”. Now, resident and guest expectations are handled quickly and discreetly, without communication gaps.

The Ritz-Carlton Logo
  • 26 stories high

  • 76 full-time residences, 25 destination club units

  • Located in downtown San Francisco



The Ritz Carlton Club & Residences in San Francisco needed to implement a panic solution when Marriott announced that all of its locations needed staff to carry around personal alert devices. Being a luxury property, they also prioritized discreet, real-time communication tools that can be used to transform the customer experience.


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