20 Jun 2012

How Four Seasons Is Working To Stay A Leader In Luxury Hotels

Since its 1960s start in Canada, Four Seasons has evolved from being solely a business traveler’s oasis to 86 global luxury properties for work and pleasure seekers alike, known for poolside Evian spritzes, world-class dining and well-appointed properties.

But as it grew, something else was growing up around it: a new kind of consumer control of brands–including luxury brands–driven by digital, mobile and social media. Suddenly it wasn’t enough that a friend or colleague or travel agency recommended a destination; consulting online reviews and commentary a la TripAdvisor became de rigueur.

Susan Helstab, executive VP of marketing for Four Seasons, said that rather than sit back and let the conversation around the brand go on without them, Four Seasons jumped into it heartily, letting guests share hotel experiences on their web site–the good, the bad and the ugly–out in the open, for all to see. “We have had a great reaction from the people who visit our website,” she said. The hotel chain also added more content around the individual hotels and surrounding destinations. “The more of that kind of content that we put on our website, the greater likelihood that we’re going to convert that customer.

It also was an acknowledgement of the tech-savvy nature of luxury travelers. Being a leader in the luxury space–in digital–is critical in a world in which the consumer defines the brand, she said. “We are part of that conversation. We are creating these relationships. We’ve recognized that our voice is going to be a minor one, and we needed to amplify.

Article source: Forbes