Week 6: Four Seasons Goes to Paris: “53 Properties, 24 Countries, 1 Philosophy”

• Assignment Questions
1. What is it like to stay at a Four Seasons?
2. What has made the Four Seasons successful over the last 30 years?
3. Does corporate culture play a role in Four Seasons’ success? If so, how and why?
4. Do human resource strategies play a role in Four Seasons’ success? If so, how and why?
5. How do you feel; about the way Four Seasons entered the Paris/French market? What was good and/or bad about the entry strategy? Why?
6. Do the lessons from this case study apply to firms entering markets other than France? If not, why? If so, how, and to what types of markets?

Additional Question
• List two companies that you would like to analyze a case study on this semester.
Answers:
1. A week ago I visited the Hotel, talked with the staff who offered a lot of facilities, and almost convinced me to stay at least for one night , but, unfortunately I could not afford the price. To take into consideration the high-quality and sincere attitude of the staff, facilities that the hotel offers and the location which provides astonishing view of the Seoul city I can guess that staying at a Hotel is something like enthusiasm or to express it simply – pleasure. The service that they provide for and the way the employees conduct themselves (smiling, maintaining eye contact, and attentive clear voice) undoubtedly maximizes the value of their time and make for a great experience.

2. There are a number of factors that have contributed to the success of Four Seasons. First of all, strict management structure and team had a key role in the long-term fortune. Their performance in the running of Hotel was respectable:
• Being a cultural chameleon – speaking in a local language;
• Being a modest, compassionate and disciplined were significant, excuses were not tolerated at Four Seasons;
• Longevity of management team, considering the firm as a family complete with rules, traditions and tough love.
Following influencing feature is diversity and singularity, while the essence of the local culture may vary, the process for opening and operating a hotel is the same everywhere. Each hotel is tailor made and adapt to its national environment by adding strong local temperament.
One of the main factors that Hotel prospered over the 30 years is Golden Rule – “One should treat others as one would to be treated” They treated their employees with respect and dignity. This would lead to high job satisfaction and would in return, increase productivity and customer satisfaction.
The seven Four Seasons “service culture standards” that all employees around the world should have followed are – the guideline of being recognized and respectful staff(Exhibit4). The word Service is an acronym for – Smile, Eye, Recognition, Voice, Informed, Clean and Everyone. In addition to this, there are 270 core worldwide operating standards of Four Seasons that include particular missions and detailed criteria for each of them.
Delivering ‘Intelligent, Anticipatory and Enthusiastic Service’ worldwide personalized customer service that puts customer above all, The hotel offers a “just for you” service which except for intelligence also takes account of culture differences and their various perceptions on the quality of hospitality.
3. The company’s culture points to the adaptation and acceptance of cultural differences. This contributes to diversity in the sense in which they want to differ from informal global chains, which are the same in everything.
4.
5. In my view, it was a proper decision to manage George V Hotel, which was a landmark located in the capital – Paris. However, entering the Paris market was quite challenging, Four Seasons faced to some cultural, economic and political issues(National and organizational culture, Doubt and belief, The need of respect, Different laws, Higher tax burden, Workweek of 35-hour, Elasticity of work time, Large expenses for staff hiring and training.)
Four Seasons managed to deal with all abovementioned tasks and opening the hotel was successful. To achieve a success entry the market a Hotel followed some deliberate, feasible decisions and strategies.
• At the Four Seasons George V, as across the firm, every potential employee was interviewed 4 times, the last one was with the General Manager. They searched people who are with right attitude and who can adapt. Then, whey emphasized on training of those employees, to make them professional, sincerely, friendly, flexible, smiley and positive in order to reach high quality personalized service.
• Hotel managers implemented the 35-hour workweek at the F. S. George V so as to meet the letter and spirit of French law.
• Four seasons at the head of Le Carvez launched an employee-of-the month and of the year program that were uncommon in French market, but they managed to do it with a huge success.
• Good communicational and problem solving strategies of management were implemented: a) internal employees survey and feedback on managerial system from the staff, through a monthly group meeting b) open door events (about three times a year) inviting employees and their families to spend time at the hotel c) externally, Four Seasons followed unexpectedly open and responsive communications with the press. To note this that not a single negative article had been written about F. S. George V hotel since its entering the market.
• Last but not least, in a diversion of Four Seasons practice history, external, a non-Four Seasons administrative chef was hired.
To conclude, Four seasons was quite prosperous in implementing varied strategies. A key component of that, I think is the fast actions of adapting to local environment(culture, policy and so on.)
6. Yes, with high probability it could be applicable to those firms which entering in all service industries( for example: Spa industry, Fashion and Service Industry) But, it should be adjusted to local market structure. Notably, this case, themed – Four Seasons Goes to Paris can be suitable in some European Countries where are culture, socio-economic situations are similar to France.