Nick Stoyer, Learning and Development Leader at Four Seasons Resort Orlando, revealed some secrets to world-class service. Nick was generous enough to share some secrets to success, and he and his firm agreed to allow us to share them with you.
How does the Four Seasons deliver world-class service across the globe? That was the central question. Below are some excerpts from the conversation. I hope you find the insights as powerful and as useful as we did.
Geoff: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is known as the gold standard for service worldwide. It has achieved more Forbes five-star ratings than any other hotel and resort brand in the world, among a long list of “best of” awards. The experience is unique, and it’s consistently awesome. Any company in any industry can benefit from learning from your example. The question is, “How do you do that?”
Nick: Long before it was fashionable for CEOs to talk about doing good in the world and treating “stakeholders” (also known as “people”) well, Four Seasons was practicing the Golden Rule: to treat others as you wish to be treated. Our founder, Issy Sharp, son of Polish immigrants, started Four Seasons in 1961 in Toronto. It seemed to him that if you wanted to build the best hospitality company in the world, you had to treat your colleagues and guests the best.
Geoff: Easier said than done.
Nick: For us, it’s all about the people we hire, the way we develop them and the culture we build together. That’s what we focus on in order to give our guests the best possible experience. One of our guests said that she defines luxury as “the absence of worry.” We thought it was brilliant, and we rolled it out as our definition of luxury. So, we need to hire the best people, develop them and give them a culture of support (alleviating them of worry as a team member), so they can do their best to free our guests from worry.
Geoff: Beyond developing and coaching people, what’s the culture like at Four Seasons?
Nick: It’s very positive, even in failure. We have this saying: “You either win or you learn something.” Everything we do, we try to make it as fun and engaging as it can be. We innovate constantly. We are building micro-videos of best practices. We constantly huddle and talk about if a guest or a colleague needs some-thing special. That’s the culture. It’s one of overwhelming support and encouragement. This permits our folks to really focus on the guests, observe what they need and take action.