Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts – “We Are Only What We Do, Not What We Say We Are”

February 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts was founded by Canadian Businessman Isadore Sharp in 1961 in Toronto. Today Four Seasons operates 90 luxury hotels worldwide. Four Seasons is a company that believes and lives by the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. The Golden Rule became a key driver of the company’s success. Their competitive edge is service. Service is the area where Four Season’s wins or loses every day. Service is Four Seasons Brand Purpose. Their goal is to provide experiences of exceptional quality. Early in their history, they determined that the best way to accomplish this was to develop a service oriented culture. Four Seasons service is delivered by frontline employees who are empowered to make decisions to provide outstanding service.


In hiring, they gave more weight to character and personality than to traditional resumes and technical expertise. They hired people who enjoyed providing service and didn’t feel that service was demeaning. People who’d never answer a customer’s question by saying I don’t know but rather I’ll find out. They hired people who were able to respond to whatever came up, who could spot, solve and even anticipate problems. Four Seasons didn’t create rules to mechanize service. They gave their employees the responsibility to provide great service.

Many companies do not treat their employees very well but expect them to smile and deliver great service. Four Seasons took a different approach. They treated their employees the way they expected them to treat customers. Employees were given the same understanding as hotel guests. Isadore Sharp has a great quote in his book Four Season The Story of a Business Philosophy. “We are only what we do, not what we say we are”.

Four Seasons approach to employee empowerment has paid huge dividends. Four Season has made the Fortune 100 list of the best companies to work for every year since its inception in 1998. It is a simple formula. Treat your employees very well and empower them to make the right decisions for your customers.

Have you experienced Four Seasons exceptional service?


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