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Four Seasons goes to Paris

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by

Marisa Matthes

on 18 November 2014

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Transcript of Four Seasons goes to Paris

Structure
Canadian international luxury, five-star hotel management company

founded 1961 by Isadore Sharp

among the top luxury hotels worldwide

Four Seasons does not own its properties --> it operates them on behalf of real estate owners

has been named one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" (Fortune) every year since survey's inception in 1998

one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry

Philosophy - Internationalisation strategy - Positioning in the IR framework
Problems of Four Seasons in Paris - Issues due to service nature - Differences to export from US
1) Introduction

2) Philosophy - Internationalisation strategy - Positioning in the IR framework

3) Problems of Four Seasons in Paris - Issues due to service nature - Differences to export from US

4) Supporting practices, values and cultural artifacts for Four Season's expansion

5) Implemented measures to overcome cultural differences in France

6) Four seasons entering Hongkong - cultural issues and their solving


Four Seasons goes to Paris
1
Supporting practices, values and cultural artifacts for Four Season's expansion

Implemented measures to overcome cultural differences in France
changes -> to adhere to the Four Seasons global standards, values, regulations
attention to cultural differences
what components link to competitive advantage
understanding French labor laws, business culture, national idiosyncrasies
MOST IMPORTANT
General Manager: Didier Le Calves
Frenchman - 25 years with Four Seasons
understands both cultures
accessible to the staff
promoting integration
first names
open-hearted
RIGHT PERSONNEL
adapt and understand corporate culture
four interviews
identify attitude (to service)
consistence - key measure
"The Golden Rule"
customer satisfaction
-> ambition
"DIRECT LINE"
group meetings once a month
raised issues
-> discuss
solve problems at their own
"Paris is a city of fashion and culture, artistic and innovative"
- Le Calves
floral arrangements
world-class restaurant
high expectations
Difficulties?
monochronic <-> polychronic
Employee-of-the-month/-year
=> adopted successfully
Four seasons: good example for other companies
Questions
Why do you think Four Seasons decided on the common standards of smiling, eye contact, ...?

What problems could these standardized practices pose?
What if Four Seasons enters.............Hong Kong?
Encounter cultural issues:
About design
About employees
About customers
And remedies?
Design
Mixture between East and West

Local and Chinese businessmen

Need to take care of all needs
---Different taste
classical
royal
modern
avant-garde
Employees
Accountability --> silent meetings

Working attitude worsening

Triglossic (multilingual) situation

Need: HR, training
Customers
Addressing: First name?


Importance of relationship


Need: cautious addressing,
better CRM, e.g. presents

each property is managed by a general manager
firm’s regional management structure - core part of the firm’s ability
a lot of international experiences - easier to expand internationally
The Golden Rule

“Treat others as
you wish they
would treat you”
"diverse and singular"

adapt to local needs -
at the same time: universal standards

meet cultural preferences

“each hotel is tailor made”

-> enhance competitive advantage
-> perfect combination of global standards
and local adaptions -
supports international expansion
Chart: What About Hong Kong, available from: http://geert-hofstede.com/hong-kong.html
Consistent exceptional service around the world and across cultures

High quality

Personalized services

Guest should maximize the value of their time

Golden rule: Treat others as you wish they would treat you

Translation from core values into enacted behaviors → competitive advantage

Customer service is extended to all organizational levels – even highest managers


First hotel 1961 Toronto, Canada – constructed by Isadore Sharp

3 more hotels in Canada

1970s/1980s
Hotel opening London
Entered US market
Floated the company on Toronto Stock Exchange

2000
Entered Chinese and Indian market
Already 50 luxury properties in almost all continents
earnings $55 million – $125.8 million
22.6% compounded annual growth rate

1997 entering the French market – renovating Hotel George V →--> Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris
“Today we have openend enough properties overseas, that we can go into any city or town and pull people together to fulfill our mission”

Isadore Sharp founder and CEO
Positioning in the IR-framework over time -->
Changed with growth of the company and variety of entered countries


In the beginning: Home replication strategy
First four hotel chains were all opened in Canada
Need for only minimal local customization


Expansion to London: Multinational strategy
Realization of culture specific differences in the perception of luxury
Adaptation of some values according to the local culture
Increase of profits due to differentiation


Need for core values and standards to assure exceptional service: Transnational strategy
Catalogue of 800 standards and relating exceptions worldwide
Response to local preferences and the aim to standardize the core values
THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND ATTENTION !!!
American life-safety standards:
different in France
Food X Trash -> different routes within the hotel

Implies that design adaptations were necessary
Right for Light
employees have the right to face a window in a certain number of hours each day (by law)

Employees in the basement: work in the shops in the ground floor for some hours

Therefore: build the highest number of windows as possible
The 35-hour work week
Employees normally work more than 35 hours per week in Four Seasons

In France: 35-hour work week by law

Obeying the law would indicate that the firm is concerned about HR issues

Therefore: apply the 35-hour work week in Paris
Task Force
35 experienced managers

every new property and opening requires a task force
formed by 35 experienced managers
aim: establish norms and reflect operating needs
normally: lasts 3 weeks
In Paris: 7-8 weeks: greater amount of work
Product differences - Exporting from the US to France
French:
emotional
artistic
cult
history-oriented
high quality goods
Philosophy
Internationalisation strategy
Full transcript