Hotel Online  Special Report

Luciano Pavarotti, Laura Bush and Tom Hanks Make Appearances in The Rittenhouse Lobby
Philadelphia's Elegant Home to Diplomats and Celebrities
Uses Concierge Software to Empower Staff, Deliver
Oprah Winfrey's Dog Biscuits


March 2, 2005 - What did Oprah Winfrey find when she registered at Philadelphia's most famous Five-Diamond hotel? A basket of monogrammed dog biscuits imprinted with her pet's names, a hand written welcome letter from the general manager, and a refrigerator filled with her favorite foods were all waiting for Ms. Winfrey when she checked into her suite at The Rittenhouse. 
When staff discovered that a high-ranking diplomat visiting The Rittenhouse from Japan was an avid sports fan, the property cabled his favorite Japanese television network into his suite's entertainment center before he arrived. After being guided through the lobby of the same hotel on arrival, the Croatian prime minister, his ambassador to the US and their aids were greeted in their rooms by welcome letters in their own language. President Bill Clinton, President George Herbert Walker Bush, Prince Andrew, Laura Bush, Arnold Palmer and Tom Hanks among others have also been guests at The Rittenhouse. 

David Benton
In addition to being the home away from home to a growing family of elite clientele The Rittenhouse has earned the AAA Five Diamond Award for 14 consecutive years and merited a position on the Conde Nast Gold List as one of the best places to stay in the world. David Benton, The Rittenhouse's vice president and general manager since 1990, explained that it takes more than a beautiful property and an attentive staff to be the hotel of choice for the most discerning travelers in politics and entertainment. "The key to success in our market is personalized service that honors each guest, and more importantly, the empowerment of each employee to provide it. We understand that each guest is unique with individual requirements, and we train our staff to be flexible." Benton noted that if a guest believes an error has been made in their billing or room assignment, every member of the front desk team has the authority to make corrections and satisfy the guest's needs instantly without a manager's approval. 

For many years The Rittenhouse tracked guest requests in triplicate with a proven paper-based method, but found the system was becoming inefficient as the volume of requests increased. "Last year our head concierge was impressed by a guest service software package named The Concierge Assistant. We installed the system and are pleased to say it has increased the amount of information we can provide and improved the speed and accuracy with which we serve our guests."

Automating Concierge Services to a Fine Level of Detail

The Concierge Assistant is accessible by The Rittenhouse's front desk, housekeeping, engineering and concierge staffs who have their work cut out for them at a property known for its superb service. "We offer every personal amenity seven days a week, 24 hours each day," said David Benton. "Arranging transportation for guests is an ongoing part of our service that was becoming difficult to track efficiently when we were paper based. With our new Concierge Assistant software if a guest asks for a limo we can immediately show which providers are available for each destination and print out a confirmation and agenda on letterhead. The system is particularly valuable if a guest�s schedule changes because we can implement the change at once and provide a clean updated copy for their itinerary. With a paper-based system this required a great deal of time to write out by hand." 

For the many guests who have an interest in professional sports, the hotel keeps a database of the local teams' websites and schedules in The Concierge Assistant, and often prints out and even emails team game calendars to guests coming to Philadelphia. The Rittenhouse also maintains a record of its hotel guests' preferred eating places, both on property and regionally, and keeps a list of the maitre d's at each establishment to ensure dining arrangements are accurate. 

Condominium Repairs Logged and Resolved Overnight with Concierge Software

The Rittenhouse, rising 33 stories above Philadelphia's historic Rittenhouse Square, offers the largest hotel rooms in the city, many with full kitchens, as well as 7/24 room service and a state of the art security system to maintain privacy for guests that include celebrities like Phil Collins, The Beachboys and Bruce Willis. The hotel's tower also holds 160 condominiums that are home to many influential and well-known residents. "Our concierge staff is very capable, as one would expect. Besides serving our hotel guests they work double duty attending to the personal needs of our condominium residents as well. We do not have the marketing muscle of a major franchise, so we depend on our superior attention to detail and word of mouth recommendations by guests who have valued their time with us," Benton explains. 

The Rittenhouse's signature guest service extends across property to its sales office, housekeeping and engineering departments as well. Tracking events that pertain to specific guests is now automated so information on the function room, outlet or other site a guest may be attending is instantly available from every terminal accessing the property's guest service database. "Since our new concierge software is on our network, staff members in sales or at the front desk can access guest information to confirm appointments or schedules when asked," said Benton. "Our housekeeper is also on the network and able to receive requests for linens or other items for both hotel guests and condominium residents. All requests are timed so management can instantly see how long a request has been outstanding and take additional action as necessary." 

Because guest comfort is at the heart of guest service the property's engineering staff maintains a 7/24 team at the hotel to ensure all repair requests from the hotel's guests, and condominium residents, are logged and resolved as quickly as possible. "Our ownership unit residents often need repairs or service on the weekends. When I get into my office on most mornings one of the first things I do is review our overnight repairs, guest requests and any outstanding needs," said Benton. "I use The Concierge Assistant to get a snapshot of the night's activities and look for action items that need to be addressed. In fact, tracking service requests by day gives us an excellent staff forecasting tool."

"Many hotel technologies detract from personal interaction with guests," said The Rittenhouse's David Benton. "We would only adopt a system that enhances our personalized attention to guests. Our experience is that The Concierge Assistant allows our staff to meet visitors' needs more efficiently and accurately with a wealth of information that benefits our guests. When hosting people that could stay anywhere they like, service is what sets The Rittenhouse apart." 

About The Rittenhouse. 

Winner of the AAA Five Diamond Super Star award, and the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, Star Diamond Award, The Rittenhouse is ranked among the "Top Hotels in The World" by Conde Nast and the Official Hotel Guide. The hotel is also featured in Simply the Best magazine as one of the "Top 20 Hotels in the U.S." The hotel's premier location on Rittenhouse Square is in the heart of Philadelphia's most prestigious residential, business, cultural and retail area, only 8 miles from Philadelphia International Airport and a quick 10 blocks from the train station and convention center. The Rittenhouse services include 24-hour room service and concierge service, twice daily maid service, 24-hour security staff and state-of-the-art systems, and seven-day laundry and valet service. The Rittenhouse is a member of The Leading Small Hotels of The World.

About Gold Key Solutions

Gold Key Solutions' The Concierge Assistant improves guest service and staff communication by creating orderliness and accuracy throughout the entire Concierge process for hotels of all types. The Windows-based software application increases staff efficiency and reduces expenses by automating all guest services activities and reporting, allowing managers to put in place a standard of excellence that may be continually refined. The Concierge Assistant is used by over 150 full-service Ritz Carlton, Marriott, Hyatt, St. Regis, and other high-end properties. The Concierge Assistant is also employed by many residential living properties and by personal assistant and professional concierge companies to optimize services to each client.


The Rittenhouse
210 Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103 
Phone: 215-546-9000

Gold Key Solutions
Newton Gore
Phone: (818) 865-0006
Email: [email protected]

Also See: The Five-Star Landmark London Applies Automated Concierge Technology to Put Polish on Personal Service / January 2005
Caesars Tahoe Becomes 100th Customer for Concierge Assistant Guest Services Software / November 2004

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