Four Seasons Goes to Paris

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REV: JANUARY 8, 2003


Four Seasons Goes to Paris: “53 Properties, 24 Countries, 1 Philosophy”
Europe is different from North America, and Paris is very different. I did not say difficult. I said different. — A senior Four Seasons manager In 2002, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts was arguably the world’s leading operator of luxury hotels, managing 53 properties in 24 countries and delivering what observers called “consistently exceptional service.” For Four Seasons, that meant providing high-quality, truly personalized service to enable guests to maximize the value of their time, however the guest defined doing so. In 1999, Four Seasons opened the Four Seasons Hotel George V
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A manager who stayed on with Four Seasons described the Four Seasons due diligence team that came to the property as “very professional and not pretentious; detail oriented; and interested in people. They did not come telling me that all I did was wrong,” he remembered, “and showed a lot of compassion.” Excuses were not tolerated at Four Seasons: “Oh, but we have just been open a year” or “The people here do not understand” were not acceptable statements. Customer service extended to all levels in the organization: managers routinely helped clear restaurant tables in passing. Strong allegiance to the firm Four Seasons’ top management team was noted for its longevity, many having been at the firm for over 25 years. Both corporate and field managers often referred to the firm as a “family,” complete with rules, traditions, and tough love. There was a strong “one firm sentiment.” For example, as one general manager explained, “We are happy to let stars go to other properties to help them.”

Four Seasons’ Approach to International Growth
Today, we have opened 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

Diversity and Singularity
According to Corinthios, “Our strength is our diversity and our singularity. While the essence of the local culture may vary, the process for opening and operating a
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