Four Seasons Hotels and the Art of Social Media

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Social MediaA lot’s been written about the Roger Smith Hotel in New York, and how it’s “doing social media right.”

But that’s just one hotel in one city, and as much as they’re doing a great job, it’s the adoption of social media by the “big boys” of any industry that really show how well social media uptake there is.

Enter Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts group.

What’s cool about their entry into social media is not that they’ve done so, but how they’re doing it.

Four Seasons, Four Outposts

While a lot of companies dabble with a Twitter account or a Facebook fan page when it comes to their social media outlets, Four Seasons takes that and adds it to the power of many.

If you check their Social Media At A Glance page, you’ll see that not only does Four Seasons have a presence on Twitter and Facebook, but also YouTube and mobile/web applications. Yet, again, it doesn’t stop there, as you’ll see if you click on each social outlet.

  • Four Seasons on Twitter. Instead of just having a corporate Twitter account (which they do, and use it as an information hub), Four Seasons has individual Twitter accounts for each resort. Fun and friendly, they’re a mix of updates, offers and conversations with guests and offer a great outlet for customers old and new.
  • Four Seasons on Facebook. Just like Twitter, there are a host of individual Facebook pages, as opposed to the singular corporate one. And they’re also much more than your usual Facebook page, with polls, booking forms, special offers and much more.
  • Four Seasons on YouTube. A collection of short snippets about what summer means, the Four Seasons YouTube channel is currently pretty minimal for content, but they’ve got some great ideas about what makes for short and enticing.
  • Four Seasons Apps and Widgets. This is where the group gets pretty funky. Since Four Seasons caters to travelers, what smarter way to reach them than with an iPhone app? Sure, it leaves out other smartphone users, but the demographic for Four Seasons fits perfectly with the iPhone crowd, so they’ve obviously done their homework. They also have a Facebook app and an embeddable widget for your website or blog.

So, all in all, a pretty comprehensive social media presence. And that’s just for now – imagine where they could take it.

Social and Mobile Media Opportunities

While it’s great to see a large company like Four Seasons adopt social media and adopt it so well, they’ve got a great opportunity to really stand out from the pack in their industry.

They already have the iPhone app, but why not transfer that success to Android or BlackBerry? Both of these platforms have great app stores and a healthy slice of the demographic that Four Seasons attracts.

Taking that up a notch, they could also introduce a loyalty card that could be tied into both their Facebook app and their mobile app(s). Pre-book your stay either via Facebook or your iPhone, and you immediately get points added to your loyalty card to use at the resort. Or check-in via GoWalla or Foursquare and become the Mayor of a certain area to receive extra spa treats or facility use while at the resort in question.

I’d also like to see the YouTube channel being used more. Have guests make their own holiday videos to upload and share, to give a personal view of the Four Seasons approach. And use it as an educational channel as well – what shots you need for what countries, local characters, cultural differences to respect, etc.

These are just some ideas that Four Seasons (or any hotel or resort group) could add to enhance any social media experience from both their point of view and that of their guests. Some might be better suited than others to different companies, but it’d be great to see the buttons being pushed on how social media (and mobile) is being used.

In the meantime, hats off to Four Seasons for their current social media approach. Nice to see larger companies get on board so well.

How about you – any hotel or leisure groups stand out for you? And how would you like to see them using social media?

photo credit: four seasons

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