Why Four Seasons Leans on Social
2009 was a dire time for the luxury hospitality industry. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, rooted in traditional ad models, realized it needed to rethink its marketing strategy if it was going to survive. It was approaching the consumer travel purchase journey from a linear perspective — and it wasn’t exactly a great time to be selling $400 hotel rooms.
“Basically, we were suffering the AIG effect,” said Elizabeth Pizzinato, svp of marketing and communications at the hotel chain. “Luxury wasn’t cool anymore. People stopped staying with us because their perception had changed. That’s when we made a conscious decision to move our traditional advertising dollars into digital.”
A Four Seasons study in 2009 confirmed this. It found that for the Four Seasons’ affluent customers, social had become the norm.
“When rethinking our brand promise, it came down to becoming more customized and personal, being locally relevant and authentic, and bringing people lasting memories,” Pizzinato said. “That means managing content in one place, meeting people where they are, encouraging more user-generated content, linking engaging experiences and having a point of view. These are the key tenets of our content marketing strategy.”
Four Seasons, with 86 hotels in 35 countries, faced a challenge many global brands face in social: how to act local. It was exacerbated by the fact that Four Seasons doesn’t own most of its hotels and is instead a franchisor. That meant that each hotel had its own social accounts while leaning on the corporate parent for offers and support, like training for its for the social media managers at the hotels.
Four Seasons kept its site at the center of its strategy. Each hotel’s site is a page on the main Four Seasons site, which also carries its digital magazine and the company blogs on family and food. It has also opened up to social in the form of reviews on the site, aggregating them from third-party site TripAdvisor.
In social, Four Seasons covers off on Twitter and Facebook. It dabbled in a virtual wine tasting via Twitter last year. Now it’s trying out Pinterest, where 60 of its 80 properties are pinning. The brand’s “Weddings at Four Seasons” campaign invites brides to pin their wedding pictures. The company also created a blog around the promotion, asking people to submit their wedding experiences at the Four Seasons. It created a Twitter stream called FS Bridal. The results in terms of engagement and user-generated content exceeded expectations.
“Right now we are focusing on what to do with all the data,” Pizzinato said. “Using data to inform marketing is the next big opportunity for us.”
Member Exclusive‘Cyber Monday has become Cyber November’: How the digital shopping day’s evolution is affecting marketers
Even if it’s a logical move to stretch out discounts typically reserved for Cyber Monday, it can create a more difficult environment for marketers.
How Roblox is paving the way for a new era of branded gaming
Roblox is still in its infancy as a marketing tool. But over the last two years, the number of brands and retailers on Roblox has grown dramatically.
‘Email has become so cluttered’: Why DTC brands plan to use texting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday nearing, text messaging is becoming a more common marketing channel for direct-to-consumer brands.
SponsoredPublishers will lead the charge as cookie-less advertising becomes the norm
Steve Wing, managing director, EMEA, Magnite As the advertising industry moves closer to a cookieless world — one in which browserless environments including connected TV (CTV) and mobile in-app are an increasingly large part of ad budgets — publishers will have an increasingly important role in developing the future of identity. Segment creation and identity […]
‘There’s more opportunity’: Publishers on TikTok are taking branded content into their own hands
As their audiences on the social app have grown, a flurry of publishers have turned to developing branded content campaigns to explore new commercial opportunities.
Member Exclusive‘A more hopeful future’: As the coronavirus surges, advertisers aren’t pressing pause
Spending has remained consistent, according to media buyers, who say that advertisers are more prepared this time around.