In today's world of luxury hospitality, many brands can boast of being hotels of grandeur in the most exotic locations in the world, with the highest quality of service. Whilst this universal standard is great for our guests, it can make it hard for students to choose where and with which brand they would like to do an internship or perhaps start their careers.
In this article the Four Seasons ambassadors (Frederic, Anastasia and Sofia) make that decision a little bit easier, by sharing with you who they believe is one of the leaders of the luxury hospitality industry: In this case study of Four Seasons you’ll discover the 6 key reasons how the luxury hospitality business positioned themselves as a top employer and state what sets them apart from other luxury hospitality brands, alongside some first-hand experiences we made during our internships.
1. Open door policy
This policy enables a large amount of communication between the different ranks in the hotel, and allows interns and trainees to engage and communicate with their managers on equal ground. During my internship, this allowed me to create far more personal relationships with my managers, which in turn made it a lot easier for me to improve in my tasks and also receive far more responsibilities, since my superiors trusted me and I trusted their judgment. When, for example, I was uncomfortable with doing a task alone for the first time, or my schedule clashed with other important appointments, I could speak to my managers and they would take time to listen and find an appropriate solution.
2. "The employer of choice"
Four Seasons is a people’s company, the employees are the most important part of its service. The brand is extremely interested in new talent and therefore works hard to recruit and keep its employees. Four Seasons devotes a lot of time and energy to recruiting and training its staff in order to deliver the highest level of service. This is reflected in their close collaboration with EHL and them becoming a founding member of the EHL Alliance Program, in order to facilitate their recruitment by hiring people from leading hospitality schools in the world, like you and me. It is also displayed in the amount of responsibility given to interns and trainees.
Within a few days of working in the front office, I was allowed to check in and check out guests with minimal supervision and show them up to their rooms. I was given the right trust and training that I could support the team and not just watch over my colleagues shoulders.
3. FS Golden Rule: "Treat others as we'd wish to be treated ourselves."
At the Four Seasons there is a high emphasis on this Golden Rule as it is said to guide our interactions with our guests, our business partners and investors, but most importantly with each other. While working there, I wasn’t just considered an intern, they considered me an actual employee. They guided me through everything and made sure I was doing my best and learning something new every day. When I worked at the bar, I was encouraged to learn about a new alcohol everyday which in turn motivated me as it allowed me to work with the barmen in preparing drinks which was something I had always wanted to try. Additionally, when things got tougher, the support from my co-workers and managers was very apparent and I knew I could count on them throughout my journey.
4. Brand reputation of Service Excellence
The Four Seasons has a clear, strong focus on exceptional service delivered by staff who are trained to carefully anticipate the needs of the guests. Furthermore, they excel in offering a high level of personalization and pay close attention to detail to give guests a sense of being genuinely welcomed and cared for. My grandmother celebrated her birthday at the Four Seasons and was greatly impressed by the high quality of service delivered. Everyone welcomed her and my family with open arms and made them feel at ease straight away. As a birthday gift, they offered my grandmother her favourite drink as well as a cake. She was extremely content as they made her feel very special on her special day. Ultimately, I experienced wonderful surprises organized by the employees on memorable occasions such as birthdays and weddings. It was impressive as they really tried to give each customer a unique and unforgettable experience.
5. Global distribution
As the Four Seasons chain continues to grow and expand geographically, the company already comprises more than 100 properties in over 46 countries. This not only shows that they are able to adapt to the many diverse cultures of the world and allow their guests to feel comfortable during their stays, but it also allows for more opportunities for employees. As stated before with the open door policy, it is a brand that remains considerably connected despite the numerous departments and all of its geographic regions. This can be seen with the example of the Ambassador Program with EHL Alliance, where the representatives of different world regions remain in contact with each other to further develop the program. Employees not only have the ability, but more importantly, the contacts needed if ever they would like to change region or hotel/resort to further develop their career in hospitality.
6. Celebration of success
In order to fully motivate and further inspire employees, the Four Seasons staff know how to celebrate employee successes and reward them with recognition and benefits. This is highly valuable in any company, as it allows employees to feel involved but also have their potential recognized by all staff. These rewards could include a free meal at the hotel restaurant, a chance to be nominated for an employee-of-the-month program, and sometimes even a few nights' stay in one of the company’s properties.
I experienced this myself whilst working in banqueting during a busy week with a big conference group. I had spoken very frequently with two of the members of the conference and had given them recommendations of what to visit in Sydney during their stay. As I was also new to the area, the guests were able to come back to me with more recommendations on things they did that I hadn’t done yet, which led to a really nice and friendly exchange of information. By the end of their stay, the guests had mentioned my name in the feedback database of the hotel, complimenting me as an employee in only my second week of work at the hotel. I was called in to the office and congratulated by my manager along with managers from other departments and other higher superiors. This meant a lot to me because I truly felt like an asset to the company, and it served to encourage my hard work even more.
There you have it: 6 valuable reasons as to why we believe Four Seasons is a company that is not only highly regarded, but also rewarding to anyone working in the hospitality industry. As one of the leading luxury hotel chains in the world, having the opportunity to be a part of it really allows you to learn from the best.
Who are we?
The EHL Alliance is an exclusive network that connects industry professionals with EHL members and resources to elevate the future of hospitality and other business sectors. This platform provides opportunities to approach young talent, research and further networking, as well as new and innovative project collaborations; altogether helping bridge the academic and business worlds.
President of Worldwide Hotel Operations, and EHL alumni, Christian Clerc, explains in an interview why they have chosen to be members of this network:
“The EHL alliance is an opportunity for Four Seasons to work with EHL to exchange ideas, resources, working on trends, innovation, technology, and more importantly the development of next generation talents. Providing these incredible students that come out of the EHL with opportunities and career paths to join Four Seasons and other great companies in the hospitality industry”.
We, Sofia, Anastasia and Frederic, are the Four Seasons Ambassador team. Our role is to help with brand awareness and recruitment opportunities within the EHL student body and alumni, serve as a source of information and contacts, and more generally, to work closely with the Four Seasons chain to represent the EHL Group. We each interned within one of the properties of the hotel chain, in different departments and in different regions so feel free to contact us to hear more about each of our experiences. Additionally, we are in contact with people from the company all around the world, in the case you need other recommendations or guidance. Please feel free to reach out to us at any time for any questions you may have and we will be more than happy to help.