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Four Seasons Seasoning Up With Digital Marketing – Case Study

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    Four Seasons (Hotels and Resorts)Four Seasons logo

 Four Seasons manages the finest hotels, resorts and residence clubs at multiple locations across    different Continents. In 1961, they opened first hotel in Toronto. Since then, they have continued   on the journey of constant innovation, expansion and dedication to the highest standards, transforming the hospitality industry and redefining luxury for the modern traveler. They have specialized within the hospitality industry by offering experiences of exceptional quality.

Business Objectives

In 2009, Four Seasons started to feel the brunt of the downturn. The company then wanted to create a platform through which it can leverage future opportunities to engage and ultimately transact with its customers. The intent was to generate content and assets that people saw as authentic and that they wanted to share. Through digital marketing the company wanted to build content that could appeal to niche segments of their audience. With digital marketing, consumers were going to have control of the conversation, Four Seasons wanted to be in place where it could catalyze that. By broadening the customer’s experience from the hotel room to a multi channel digital content program, Four Seasons wanted to enrich the already strong connection it had with its guests.

Strategy Adopted

1. Website: The new Four Seasons website www.fourseasons.com was designed with the luxury traveler in mind with the intent to provide an impressive and effortless experience tailored on every guest. Since the luxury traveler is always connected  and using multiple devices, the site has been optimized for a smart phone and tablet that delivers seamless hotel booking, destination content and media integration. Observations say that the most important online activity for any customer while staying at a hotel for business or vacation was reviewing information on local area activities. To meet their demand, every hotel and resort on the Four Seasons site features custom information related to sight, sounds and tastes  indigenous to the region or locale. The site is also rich in inspiration with evocative photography combined with amenity details and local destination information including weather reports, leveraging interactive components that give an even greater voice to guests and advocates through a social media module where they can read reviews and comments from TripAdvisor, Facebook and Twitter. To support brand’s integrated digital media strategy, it is optimized for mobile and will integrate real-time search, videos, blogs, news, Facebook, Twitter and more that is regionally relevant, multi lingual and culturally sensitive to appeal.

2. Facebook: Four Seasons enhanced its Facebook page with the new tools and a refreshed design to provide visitors with compelling content such as exclusive promotions for dining, spa and other services and interactive touch points like a contest on Flickr for the best travel photo. IT has one Facebook page for representing the brand as a whole and 90 Facebook pages for subsidiary local hotels and resorts. There is monthly offers tab on Facebook page which encourages email newsletter subscription. The new Memory Montage on the brand’s Facebook page allows anyone to easily create their own travel video using images, videos and music.

3. Twitter: Four Seasons leveraged Twitter for its Winter Spa campaign, providing unprecedented access to spa experts globally on #FSpa Twitter Chats. Four Seasons participated in many popular travel chats including #FriFotos and #TTOT. It used #luxchat to unveil the new website. It also tried to engage with customers through Twitter wine tasting campaign, which was designed in a way that you can get the wine yourself and taste it and listen to the description and evaluation on Twitter.

         four-seasons-digital-media-universe

4. YouTube: Four Seasons developed highly curated content for YouTube. Examples include world-class surfing videos from its property in the Maldives at Kuda Hurra, best sights to explore at Four Seasons Hotel Marrakech and tours of theaters and pubs in Dublin. This content allows the consumer to get a first look at their properties and better understand the Four Seasons experience.

5. Location-based Services: Four Seasons was one of the first luxury hotel brands to leverage location-based mobile and web services, such as Gowalla and Foursquare for engagement and promotional purposes. When guests checked into Four Seasons properties during the ‘Best of California’ promotion, they received best of trip recommendation. When guests checked in with Gowalla at three or more spot recommendations they received a spa or dining credit.

6. Tumblr: Four Seasons is the first luxury brand to have Tumblr presence (www.fourseasonsspas.tumblr.com).  Here spa images and posts were aggregated using #FSpa hashtag.

PinPackGo7. Pinterest: Four Seasons was the first luxury hotel to be present on this  platform. It received an amazing response with its trip planning feature  Pin.Pack.Go

8. Blogs and Microsites: Four Seasons launched its Have Family will  travel  blog (www.family.fourseasons.com) featuring real stories from  customer’s traveling with kids. The four seasons foodies site  (taste.fourseasons.com), featuring world-renowned chefs blogging  about everything from how to make a white chocolate cake to how to cute  the perfect holiday turkey. The ‘Foodies Around the World’ section celebrates the unique cuisine, fine wine and cocktail suggestions.

9. Google+ and Weibo: Four Seasons has established  a presence on Google+ to leverage its unique capabilities and features. It has an active presence on Weibo, China’s most popular social network with more than 250 million users, and has online magazine site too.

Outcome of the Digital Marketing Strategy

Almost from day one the new website was performing much much better than its previous sites: Visits, Bookings, Conversion, Conversion of availability checks. In the following year, there was a 20% increase in digital revenue

  • Four Seasons experienced significantly increased number of visits to its website through SEO. More and more image – based content was driving engagement and ultimately allowed the Four Seasons to be at the top of the list for search engine efforts
  • The company observed 100% increase in brand – level Pinterest followers
  • YouTube content of the company received a fantastic response. Total views soar to 2,80,000 which was approximately 30% higher than the previous year
  • Twitter usage by guests increased 350% compared to previous year
  • The company experienced a 200% increase in bookings completed on a tablet device.
  • Email open rate raised to 70%

Learnings 

There is inherent value in really knowing your audience  and developing customized content that mirrors the way that they are consuming information. Social media platforms are effective means to foster engagement across social channels, expose campaigns or promotions to the new audience or simply promote rich content to a niche audience. Most important, it is extremely advantageous to be the first in your space to implement new ways of customer engagement and build brand value.

Image Credits: Four Seasons

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