Differentiating Upscale Hospitality Series: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

30-day Challenge – Day 14

If you have been in touch with much of the happenings in hospitality, then you would have noticed a huge emphasis on rolling out more value-added services to complement the commoditized room revenue segment.  Over the past year, one of the hotel and travel components being actively pursued by hospitality groups, developers, and licensees alike, has been spa services.

I can’t remember where I heard or read it, but someone once said something very profound about luxury brands:

Luxury brands don’t discount, they add value.

Four Seasons

It seems that the great people at Four Season’s must believe that statement as well. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts recently went full-force with social media, utilizing Twitter, facebook, Tumblr and foursquare to market its global spa initiative. Between 11/14/11 and 11/18/11, the company hosted a social media panel of experts sharing insights on spa trends, tips and industry developments. Titled “The Curators of Calm”, the brand initiative was an attempt to connect consumers with the Four Seasons spa experience. The brand also partnered with American Express to offer cardholders an extra 30 minutes of service when using their AMEX cards to book a 60-minute massage from now through 03/15/12. Remember my post on the successful co-branding?

In my research, I am yet to see the company come out with a specific spa brand like Hilton’s Eforea or Starwood’s Shine brands. Maybe plans are underway to launch something in the coming year, especially because of the value spas add to the guest experience. More importantly hotel chains that effectively position their spa brands in 24-hour or gateway cities across the globe have an opportunity to attract local customers in their market. These indigenous customers may not be interested in sleeping on Egyptian cotton, but would rather enjoy a hour long session of aromatherapy.

For more on the spa development trend, I suggest you look at a report by consortium of hospitality thought leaders including the Cornell School of Hotel Administration is entitled “Top Ten Hotel Spa Trends to Watch in 2011”. Considering that the hospitality, travel, and real estate spaces will not get less competitive in the next six to 12 months, this seven-page primer is valuable for professionals competing in dynamic environments.

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