Puttin’ On the Ritz

12 July 2022

The five-star Ritz London hotel is situated in the heart of Piccadilly overlooking Green Park. Over the last 115 years it has earned a reputation as one of the finest hotels in the UK and become a benchmark by which other hotels are measured. The Ritz boasts 136 Louis XVI-style rooms and suites, a world-famous Afternoon Tea and the Michelin-starred Ritz Restaurant.

The Ritz is a luxury hotel that welcomes a discerning clientele who expect world-class service. The hotel’s IT network is no different. The Ritz London’s in-house IT team consists of six people and there are three members of the IT staff who monitor the IT network constantly. They need to maintain visibility of the health of the hotel’s core network, IT systems, building and cameras 24-hours a day. The IT team found that other solutions they had tried weren’t fulfilling their needs. As Richard Isted, IT manager, The Ritz London explained: “We were not getting useful reporting from our previous monitoring systems because they were either hard to configure, difficult to maintain or lacked the feature sets to configure the more complex or unusual systems for monitoring.”

As a result, Isted and his team turned to Paessler’s PRTG Network Monitor, initially taking out a free trial. They mainly use PRTG to monitor the health of the hotel’s core network and IT systems in order to get more visibility and control.

“I would recommend PRTG because it has helped us significantly improve service up time by highlighting important alerts that would otherwise result in a system failure or service disruption if action was not taken. Thanks to PRTG we can ensure that The Ritz London’s network and IT systems are five-star, just like the hotel”

Richard Isted, IT manager, The Ritz London

Some of the main motivations for Isted and his team in choosing PRTG was that it is feature rich and easy to set up: “There are numerous extensive blog articles on the Paessler website that help you to configure common devices for monitoring. We haven’t had to log a single support case because everything is so self-explanatory. As we operate on a “Windows Server” based system, it is easy for my team members to help manage, as opposed to Linux-based monitoring systems which have a much steeper learning curve.” Setting up sensors and connecting them to PRTG was also very straightforward. Isted added: “PRTG made configuring custom SNMP sensors much easier than other systems I’ve worked with.”

The business benefits  
Hotel security and maintenance is a key priority for the IT team. After they first started using PRTG, the IT team discovered some useful insights into how well the systems and buildings were functioning. Isted explained: “We found out that our air conditioning fails more often than I had anticipated. Before we installed PRTG one of our servers was damaged due to overheating. Now temperature alerts are instantly escalated to a 24-hour on-site team who take corrective action.”

The PRTG alerts are invaluable for the in-house maintenance team who operate around the clock. “There’s a separate escalation group for them. We’re a 24-hour operation, but the IT team is not necessarily always on site, that’s why we have plugged PRTG into our email system and linked escalation alerts to the telegram messenger service as well. The alerts tell the maintenance team the exact location of the problem. It’s a good way to make sure that we don’t have any issues to sort out in the middle of the night when we’re not actually on site to monitor things ourselves, and this has proved useful on several occasions.”

The use of PRTG has also led to a much more proactive approach by helping the IT team spot issues and needs much sooner, which has been a major benefit so far. Isted said: “PRTG’s alerts are extremely useful and give us a heads up on potential issues before they escalate” This has allowed us to be more proactive, as opposed to being reactive. We have also used them to look at traffic patterns when our network is busy, allowing us to adjust our backup jobs to work around any peaks. Overall, PRTG has helped us improve service up time by highlighting important alerts that would result in a system failure or downtime if action was not taken.”

Isted and his team have strong ambitions when it comes to upgrading the hotel’s tools and technology to create a cutting-edge IT network and system. “Thanks to PRTG we have been able to analyse our need for further IT equipment. The data that we have collected gives us figures on resource utilisation which in turn helps back the business case for further investment in IT infrastructure. In the future, we’re planning on investing in more IP cameras and physical security, access control devices as well as switches and servers. We’d also like to integrate our system with physical security devices such as door locks and electronic door controllers using the PRTG maps feature and to have better integration with our cameras so we can track their health and utilisation. This would enable us to create a personalised dashboard for our security team so that they can have greater insights into our security equipment and respond quickly when there’s an issue. So far, we’ve probably covered 33% of what PRTG can do as it’s such an extensive system. We have lots of ideas that we haven’t had a chance to implement yet.”