HBS Case Four Seasons Case Study 5 pages

Seasons Hotel Case Study

The Four Seasons is positioned as a luxury hotel. Its hotels are mid-sized, and often with downtown locations, so the company is excluded from the boutique category but is not specifically a resort hotel either. The luxury segment for hotels is defined by the service level offered. Luxury hotels focus on a very high end service experience, and the hotels themselves are luxurious in terms of their decor. The staff ratios are higher, and these hotels also pay more attention to staff training, and to detail.

There are a couple of different customer segments that the Four Seasons caters to. The wealthier traveler is the main one, especially in the vacation segment. These are travelers who have sufficient financial means and the taste to always demand luxury and a high level of service. The other major customer segment is the high-end business/corporate/government segment, where higher-ranking individuals are the guests, and somebody else is the payer. The Four Seasons is not for the average business traveler, but more for the executive level business traveler.

The company’s organizational culture supports the pursuit of these customers. The organizational culture emphasizes perfection in performance, and delivering a high level of customer service. Excuses are not accepted, and there is a very formal detailing of the universal service standards to which the hotels are to adhere. Both of these are important — at the luxury end a hotel needs to be operationally as close to perfect as possible, because the guests pay a lot of money and demand excellence. Thus, customer service has become a core value for the company that helps it to deliver on its service promise.

What is worth noting is that in this category, excellent service is basically a baseline. The customer expects it, and the hotel will lose the customer if it is not there. But all of the other competitors in this industry do the same thing — the major competitors for Four Seasons all have similar cultures with respect to customer service and operational excellence.

2. Four Seasons seeks to adjust its approach in foreign markets, to reflect the different visions of hospitality in those markets. There may also be some changes that are done at the management level. What the company does emphasize, however, is that the global operating standards are mandatory, and there can be no compromise on these. But after that it makes allowances that the hospitality tone and theme can be appropriate to the region, at a high end standard of course. The company assumes that some level of flexibility is needed when operating in international markets, and to an extent this is also something that the customer values. The Four Seasons customer is usually well-traveled, so perhaps the company is reading its customers right — they can handle different types of luxury, as long as it is luxury.

Cultural differences, especially with the staff, are among the biggest challenges to which the Four Seasons has to adjust. The company has to retrain some of the staff with respect to the aspects of its culture that specifically support its business strategy. The example of putting the customer first is salient here. Managers are told that they may need to retrain people within the company, but that they also might need to retrain themselves, given that there are going to be legal and cultural differences for any foreign manager working overseas.

3. The Four Seasons human resource approach emphasizes bringing everyone into understand the high standards that are expected in service. As noted, the service is allowed to retain its local flair, but everybody is expected to adhere to the global service guidelines. Foreign managers usually arrive to ensure that standards are being met. The Four Seasons also imposes certain other elements of its policy from home. An example of this was the use of female concierges and male housekeepers, which ran against French tradition. This is very much, however, fitting with the Canadian traditions of the hotel. The French hotel industry, however, adapted to the idea just fine. Four Seasons also modified its approach to hiring a chef. It normally uses in-house talent but in Paris hired a distinguished local chef. This move was done because it was felt that in Paris this was a key success factor. So these are examples of how the company has standardization in some areas, but is willing to bend to local needs in other areas.

4. There were a number of issues with respect to opening in Paris. The company settled on an existing hotel, rather than building a new site, but that raised challenges. First, they needed to bring the staff up to Four Seasons standards. This was a challenge because some of the best people left, and many of the worst remained. Ultimately, management needed to spend time ensuring that everybody with the company was capable of executing the standards of the Four Seasons. There were French cultural issues in particular. The French temperament seemed to be quite at odds with the North American way of doing things, which created both training and personnel management issues.

The local laws also proved to be a challenge. There were laws about access to natural light, and France’s labor laws are in general favorable to the worker. As such, there were adjustments that needed to be made. However, the company has enough experience working in these sorts of countries that none of these law were too onerous — it was just a matter of learning about them and then finding ways to deal with them. Overall, the legal issues ended up being more of a nuisance than anything else.

5. One of the major difficulties in a hotel conversion is that the physical space must be transformed. This usually means that the space should have been for a hotel in the same category previously, but even then the new owner will want to differentiate the space from the prior owner, no matter how successful that hotel was. This is a fairly easy challenge, however, reflecting a new vision for the decor.

The bigger challenge is that the old hotel’s staff are usually acquired with the purchase. They know the facility, the guests and many have years or even decades of experience. However, they are also from the old organizational culture. It is important for the new company to bring in some of its own people, and transform the organizational culture. This is especially the case when the new owner, such as a Ritz Carlton or a Four Seasons has a strong brand identity that they wish to project. In the case of the George V, there were a lot of changes that Four Seasons wanted to make in terms of human resources, and that necessitated turning over a certain amount of staff, retraining the French staff on North American management techniques and other issues such as that. Even then, there were still some issues that related back to cultural differences, either national or organizational, between management and the staff.

The decor problem, of course, was relatively easy to solve. They did not even move the spa, despite the human resources problem that the spa’s location presented. They brought in trainers from North America to help explain the changes to the human resources system that the staff were going to see. The good news for Four Seasons is that this was not their first time opening overseas — they may never have been in France before but they had an approximate sense of the process. Building the new culture, quickly, was the focal point of a lot of the work that they did. They hired a number of people who either had Four Seasons experience or North American experience, so that those people could help authenticate the new human resources management systems, and ease with the transition. These tactics proved critical, because it allowed the new HR strategy to stick and the hotel to change its culture.

6. The golden rule was something that the Four Seasons wants to apply across its entire company, as this is a core service element. It is basically an easy way to understand how Four Seasons values service — from a customer-first perspective. There were problems initially with the rule, because some employees saw their traditional way of doing things upended. The hotel had not always put the customer first, in particular because of the French business culture. It took some time for some of the employees — and in particular the privileged managers — to adjust to the application of the golden rule.

I feel, however, that this philosophy does impact on the guest experience. The example in the case was that of the manager who for a meeting took over a high-value table in the hotel’s restaurant while there were guests waiting. This was not an instance of putting the guests first, and was something that was prohibited with the implementation of the golden rule. As a result, the golden rule ended up changing this behavior, so that everybody who works for the hotel started to see things more from the perspective of the guests. The guest s were never again going to see somebody from the hotel put the guest as secondary. For the guest, this is important, especially in the luxury category where guests pay a lot of money to get the best service. So the golden rule has become a critical component of the Four Seasons service philosophy for a reason.


Hallowell, R., Bowen, D. & Knoop, C. (2002). Four Seasons goes to Paris: “53 properties, 24 countries, 1 philosphy” Harvard Business School. In possession of the author

Heskett, Sasser & Schlessinger, 1997). The cycle of capability. In possession of the author

Heskett, Jones, Loveman, Sasser & Schlessinger (1994). Service-profit chain. In possession of the author.

Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply

Buy Custom Essay

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects


Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.


Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!


While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.


Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.


We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!


We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.


Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment  Help Service Works

1.      Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2.      Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3.      Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4.      Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

smile and order essaysmile and order essay PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!

order custom essay paper