The Four Seasons Way

Four Seasons sets a very high bar for service standard. The standard, across all properties, is error free with virtually no deviation.

How do they do it?

As explained in Issy Sharpe’s memoir, Four Seasons a Business Philosophy, the company’s greatest asset and key to success are the people. Everyone has a “sense of dignity, pride and satisfaction”.

Here’s a great story of how the manager in charge of developing the team, all of whom had no hotel experience, albeit luxury experience, at Four Season Nevis set up his team to succeed:

I ordered room service. A young lady came in with my order and set it up on the terrace. ‘‘Where did you learn to do this?’’ I asked her.

‘‘What job did you have before?’’
‘‘Oh, I never worked before,’’ she told me. ‘‘This was my first job, sir.’’
‘‘Then how did you learn to do this? There are a lot of items, and everything’s here, placed exactly as it should be.’’
‘‘Well, sir, they taught me everything.’’
‘‘That’s interesting,’’ I said. ‘‘How did they do that?’’
‘‘They let me take everything home for me to practice with my family,’’ she explained.

I began to realize what [the manager in charge of training at this resort] had meant by patience and understanding. He had put in place a training program for people with absolutely no conception of international hotel service; let alone how to achieve it. He had done this through judging, by attitude, whom we should or shouldn’t hire, then patiently helping them understand how and why we did things, and doing this in a way that wouldn’t make them reluctant to go on asking questions until they got it right.

Story shared from Forbes column.

April 17, 2014 (9:29 pm)

Originally published at

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