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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Comments

  1. says

    Great post, Danny. Thanks very much for your comprehensive review of our social media presence. We’ll continue to strive to leverage social media effectively to build trust and connection with our guests and customers. — Cherry Kam, Director, Interactive Marketing, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

    • says

      Hi there Cherry,

      Very welcome – I was (pleasantly) surprised to see how many accounts you had running. Nice change over a single corporate one. Looking forward to seeing the next steps.

  2. says

    Working for an ad agency that focuses on hospitality, I really enjoyed this post. We deal with a number of clients who are still hesitant to commit the time/effort to a social media strategy, so showing them examples like Four Seasons is always helpful. Starwood Hotels and Resorts is pretty active in social media, but with so many distinct brands (Westin, Sheraton, W, St. Regis, etc.) it complicates the process. From our experience, Hyatt seems to really be falling behind.
    .-= Charlie´s most recent blog post …Signs that travel is on an uptick =-.

    • says

      It’s interesting to see who’s really getting onboard, and who’s taking small steps. In an industry like the leisure one, taking the early lead (like Roger Smith, Four Seasons, Starwood, etc) could offer a huge advantage to the slower approaches.

  3. says

    I was in Jackon Hole, WY last September and mentioned this fact on Twitter. With in moments I received a tweet from the Jackons Hole Four Seasons asking me to stop by.

    I had time and figured it would be nice to maybe stop by and talk to the marketing people over coffee.

    I replied and never heard a thing from them again.

    The best I could tell it was an automated response to the words “Jackson Hole”.

    When I speak to groups about social media and travel, I use them as an example of what NOT to do.
    .-= Gary Arndt´s most recent blog post …Daily Travel Photo – Easter Island =-.

  4. says

    Very Cool ! It is nice to see The Four Seasons and others using social well. It is not so much about the “big boys” vs. the single properties though. I am excited for the travel/hospitality business in general embracing social networks. The more personal the better !
    Great post.

    B

    • says

      Hey there Brian,

      Couldn’t agree more – it’s great to see any company use the new tools and platforms well. Where I was coming from was sometimes it takes the larger companies to operate in the space before others in the industry take notice.

      That’s not to say that’s right – just (unfortunately) the way a lot of businesses work. As I mentioned to Charlie above, though, it does allow folks like yourself and Four Seasons to really separate your business from others. And in the long run, that can never be a bad thing :)

    • says

      Cool visual comparison, Ari – it’ll be interesting to see how they stack up from last year, and whether any have gone backward. Look forward to it – cheers!

    • says

      Ha, I’m pretty sure yours will be an excellent post too, Aaron – I’ve read some of yours, great stuff.

      By the way, is that the Blogussion template you’re running? Great job! :)

  5. says

    Danny,

    I’m glad you covered this. Four Season Hotels doesn’t just have a good presence, they actually translate their impeccable service beyond what the public sees on social media. I happened to tweet one day to them that I have never forgotten the most incredible pork chop the world has ever tasted when I stayed at their Maui property. Via DM, the person manning the Twitter profile contacted me and asked for my email address. They then proceeded track down the recipe for me, even though it was from a menu from seven years ago. That’s cool, and that’s why I’ll always consider the Four Seasons when I travel.

    Rachel Kay

    • says

      And that’s the difference between a good business and a great business, Rach. The good offer service; the great offer an experience.

      Cheers!

  6. says

    I will go to New York this summer and I am looking for a good hotel. This looks really interessting. Are there any other similar good ones anybody can recommend?

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