Shaping the Future of Luxury Hospitality through Relay

Whitley Hotel

Photograph © The Whitley Hotel


Recognizing the importance of employee satisfaction and safety in delivering exceptional service, The Whitley’s commitment to creating value for its team members and hotel guests led them to Relay when the hotel needed a new panic solution.

An employee folding towels, wearing Relay+.

Unlocking Value at The Whitley Luxury Hotel

David Rowland, Regional Vice President of Operations at HEI, is responsible for several hotels, including The Whitley, a historic luxury hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. Throughout David’s career, he has learned that one of the best ways for him to have an impact and be successful at work is to focus on value. For each decision, investment or program he implements, he’s looking for ways to create more value. He does that for all his stakeholders including his hotel owners, his team members and the guests at the hotels he runs. 

Going beyond compliance

It takes highly trained and satisfied employees to deliver the level of service needed and expected at a hotel like The Whitley. Employees are going to do their best work if they not only feel appreciated and excited about the work they are doing but also feel safe. David was looking for a new, more robust panic button solution for his employees to help give them that extra confidence in their safety. He wanted to go beyond just compliance when it came to the safety of his team. 

“Part of finding value is looking 3-5 years down the road and asking yourself, ‘Will the technology we are investing in be relevant and continue to improve?'”

Future proofing their technology investment

When he began evaluating panic solutions, he was surprised to learn that the Relay platform was not only an industry-leading panic solution but also had a robust communication capability built into the Relay+ device. He immediately locked on to the value this could potentially unlock for his team, having two major pieces of employee technology combined into one device. A two-in-one solution would be easier for his employees, it would be easier for IT to manage, and it would require much less infrastructure investment. Another consideration for him was technology. David shared, “Part of finding value is looking 3-5 years down the road and asking yourself, ‘Will the technology we are investing in be relevant and continue to improve?'”. He felt confident that Relay as a software based solution that leverages cellular networks and wifi instead of radio waves would be able to continue to improve. Finally, as an ultra-luxury hotel, the compact and discreet design of Relay+, proved to be a much better fit for their elevated aesthetic standards compared to the bulkier legacy radio systems in a brick-style format.

Seeing communication barriers start to crumble

After making the investment in Relay, his team immediately felt an impact. They started to realize that the legacy technology of two-way radios had created artificial communication barriers. Prior to Relay, most questions or requests were sent to the operator, and then the operator would share the information with the relevant teams. That worked okay, but the speed and clarity improved drastically with Relay because it became much easier to call the person you needed directly using Relay+. One of David’s mantras has always been “if you see something, say something.” That now means that if a valet sees a broken lightbulb, they can call maintenance directly. The Whitley team now organizes their channels in ways that work best for them and are not constrained anymore by the number of channels they can create. Connectivity across their property has also improved with Relay switching seamlessly between all three major cell networks or WiFi. The cost savings have also been meaningful. Replacing radios and batteries have now become a thing of the past. With Relay’s enhanced durability and location tracking, the team is able to quickly locate and retrieve any missing Relay+.

Never stop looking for value

David knows the strategic decisions he makes will impact the guest experience, so he will continue to focus on what has always been his north star, looking for the most value he can create in everything he does. 

Logo for the whitley hotel
  • 507 guest rooms spanning over 22 floors, 40,000+ sq. ft. of meeting & event space

  • Part of the luxury brand portfolio of Marriott International



Remove the communication barriers that legacy two-way radios created and implement a comprehensive panic solution that aligned with the hotel’s commitment to advanced technology and aesthetic standards.


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