Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Wilhelm

Sam Wilhelm

Chef Concierge, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

Chef Concierge Sam Wilhelm has been immersed in the hospitality industry since he can remember. Born and raised in the quaint town of Hana, the namesake of Maui's most notorious road trip, Wilhelm's father was a Director of Food & Beverage at the Hotel Hana and his mother was a Front Office Manager. "Growing up, I was always at the hotel. My sisters even danced hula there," recalls Mr. Wilhelm. "And when we weren't there, we were having guests over to our home for dinner." Mr. Wilhelm still exudes the aloha spirit instilled in his childhood, and much of his focus at Four Seasons Resort Maui relates to showing his guests the beauty of the island and its native people. The young chef concierge swiftly navigated up through the hotel ranks. At age 15, he became a concierge agent at Hotel Hana. After graduating high school, he moved into the Food & Beverage department. Three years later, he moved from Hana to the luxury resort area of Wailea, Maui, taking a position as a front desk agent at the Fairmont Kea Lani, where he stayed for five years, advancing to chef concierge. In 2011, Mr. Wilhelm joined Four Seasons "I wanted be part of the best," he says. A year later, he was promoted to chef concierge, heading the largest team of concierge in the company. Mr. Wilhelm also holds the coveted golden keys of the Les Clef d'Or, which he earned in 2009. He regularly attends the association's annual congress meetings, developing initiatives to bring back to his island home and growing his network of his peers-the best of the best in the business. "My goal at the resort is twofold: first, to provide guests with a level of service that exceeds their expectations; second, to show them the real Maui, the one that I grew up with and that they can take home with them in the form of lifelong memories." When Mr. Wilhelm is not behind the desk, he enjoys experiencing all his island home has to offer. He can often be found with family and friends, relaxing at the beach or dining at the island's most revered eateries-from chef's tables to holes-in-the-wall.

Mr. Wilhelm can be contacted at 808- 874-8000 or sam.wilhelm@fourseasons.com

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.