Four Seasons: The story of a Business Philosophy
Four Seasons is a leading Luxury Hotel operator with locations in different cities across the nation. The company has been maintaining a prominent position in the industry since 1961, making it a point of interest for many who wish to establish and run a successful business. Being focused on both, employees and clients the leadership of the company stands out from the rest of the hospitality businesses. The company's success story also offers insightful lessons to other enterprizes as well as upcoming leaders and entrepreneurs. The firm stands out as a professionally managed business with unique leadership and a strong focus on internal and external clients’ satisfaction.
Differences between the Company’s Leadership and Other Hospitality Businesses
Four Seasons is a leading luxury hotel operator with numerous locations in the USA and around the globe. The success of the company in an environment full of competitors comes from the unique strategies adopted throughout the years. These policies distinguish the management of Four seasons from the other industry operators. The founder of the company Isadore Sharp was a visionary leader who devoted a substantial time to studying other successful companies such as McDonald's to shape the best leadership strategy for this business (Phillips 118). The management adopts a well-thought strategy that guarantees the success of the company. They have a creative crises management team responsible for dealing with unforeseen crises that hit businesses from time to time. Additionally, the management of the company focuses on the right treatment of their employees. Unlike other companies that emphasize quality services and fail to treat their employees with dignity, Four season's administration recognizes that its workers are the ones who can deliver top-notch services to the clients. Considering this, they focus on empowering their employees and treating all people equally and with dignity.
Additionally, the management understands that clients expect quality services and value for their money. Therefore, they have established a culture of offering quality services which have paid off over the years. The top management does due diligence by selecting the suitable locations for their businesses and adopting a hiring model that focuses on employees’ attitudes rather than an experience like many other companies do (Phillips 284). Also, they have put effort into building a brand for the company and aligning their vision to the internal and external culture of the company. However, what sets the management aside from the rest is their focus on offering services that are above clients’ expectations and catering to the needs of all their clients despite their personal and cultural differences.
How the Company Caters for the Internal Clients
One of the distinctive features of the company is its policy of treating its employees with dignity. In 1997, the company made it to the Fortune’s magazine top 100 best companies to work in (Phillips 241). According to their company's culture, the management should treat the employees in the same manner as their subordinates should address the clients. This strategy guarantees that the clients experience stellar quality services. The drive behind adopting this model of operation was the decision to make the quality the company's competitive advantage. The management realizes that the people to deliver these quality services were the people who worked in the business from low-level employees to high position ones. Ensuring that the workers provide real services to the clients includes aligning the employees with the company's golden rule. It involves treating them with the dignity and respect they deserve and creating a working environment that helps people rise to their best. It also includes building a team spirit which helps people to recognize that their role is critical to the attainment of the company's goals.
The company focuses on recruiting the best employees. It implies that the company’s team members have adequate skills for top-notch performance. In the hiring process, unlike many others that go for the experience, the company looks at attitudes and later helps the employees to establish their career paths. Additionally, the company rewards its employees for excellent performance (Phillips 242). By treating their employees with respect and dignity, the company enjoys a low turnover giving the administration a chance to organize training to improve personnel skills facilitating the delivery of better services. It creates a culture of delivering quality services which place the company ahead of others in a competitive environment.
How the Company Caters for External Clients
Four Seasons hotels business focuses on providing quality services to its clients. The company has four primary factors that distinguish it from the other groups. These are quality, service, culture, and brand. These factors get displayed in every interaction with external clients. The company strives to meet the high clients’ expectations as Four Seasons hotels’ rates are slightly higher in comparison to the other hotels (Phillips 244). Each morning the relations manager whose position is similar to that of a department manager recaps who is staying in the hotel thereby establishing a rapport with the clients. This manager also ensures that the hotel is well prepared and ready for the visitors including the VIPs and special needs visitors. This guarantees that the clients receive the best possible services during their stay.
Unlike other companies, the Four Seasons hotels acknowledge mistakes that have occurred the previous day. All the errors are captured in a glitch report (Phillips 244). Every hotel department presents this statement in the morning meetings and provides a detailed description of the mistakes that have occurred the previous day and the steps the staff has taken to correct the error. During the meeting, the employees identify which employee has been affected as well as the cause of the issue. Then, the staff develops a solution to ensure that the mistake does not happen again. In cases of errors, the company is sincere and apologetic about the glitch (Phillips 246). Additionally, the company considers the client's personalities and attitudes in providing services. It takes pride in the diversity of its clients and ensures that its service delivery meets people’s needs. The fact that the company’s employees strive to go the extra mile and provide additional services that people would not typically expect from customer service makes the Four Seasons hotels an outstanding business.
Applying the Learned Lessons in Future
The book Four Seasons: A story of Business Philosophy by Sharp and Phillips provides useful insights into developing a successful company. One of the essential lessons learned from this book is the importance of treating the employees in a similar way a business expects the workers to treat the customers. In the hotel industry, however, clients expect nothing but the best services. In these settings, a company should strive to provide more than the clients expect from their customer service. Promoting respect for the workers as well as establishing an enabling working environment is one of the ways a company can ensure quality services to the clients. Additionally, a company should not only strive to develop quality services but also to maintain such services throughout the years and stay ahead of the competitors.
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Another important lesson learned from the book concerns the issue of the hiring process. While many companies focus on hiring experienced workers, it is better to focus on a mix of knowledge and the employee’s right attitude. Furthermore, it is also paramount to continually train the workers and align them with the mission and vision of the company. Moreover, it is essential to have a reward program for the company employees and to promote from within when leadership vacancies arise. Also, the Four Seasons success story emphasizes the importance of accepting mistakes when they happen. While some other companies try to deny errors, it is critical to acknowledge mistakes, apologize to the customer and focus on establishing the cause of the failure, and to take measures to prevent such cases in the future. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the company meets its client’s expectations and remains ahead of the competitors.
Understanding of Service Management
Service management is critical in the hotel industry. In my point of view, service management seeks to ensure that the services offered exceed the client's expectations by establishing a good rapport between the clients and the business. These services are critical to the success of a company. Service management should ensure that the services are tangible, reliable, and responsive and ensure the clients get quality for their money. Additionally, it implies that the service providers are competent and courteous when dealing with clients; the personnel observes proper communication skills during the transactions and has an appropriate understanding of customer service. Also, the services should be speedy, and accurate and should provide solutions for problems that arise. In a nutshell, service management implies ensuring that the services are reliable and above all exceeding the client’s expectations.
The management of Four Seasons hotels stands out from the rest of the other companies through their focus on empowering their employees which translates into quality services for the clients. The company treats its workers with dignity, and in turn, the workers go the extra mile in providing more services than the clients expect. The story offers insightful lessons by bringing to light the importance of establishing a company culture and maintaining a high-quality performance throughout the years. For any company to be successful, it should think of service management which implies providing services that go beyond the customer's expectations.
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