Bringing Your Brand to Life Through Compelling Content Marketing

By Sorya Gaulin Director, Corporate Public Relations, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts | February 24, 2013

Social media has completely transformed the way that consumers engage with brands, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the luxury travel sector. Early on we recognized the connection between a travelerís desire to share their experiences with the world and the broad, immediate communication facilitated by social media channels. All of a sudden travelers could share, congregate, converse and covet in ways that were unimaginable only a few short years ago. It is no surprise that emerging social platforms with strong visual capabilities like Pinterest and Instagram are experiencing considerable growth, and existing social platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, are continually improving their ability to showcase images more beautifully.

With such a flurry of digital activity every day, taking the time to pause and really listen to the types of conversations that were happening in the social media space helped us evolve our strategy and better understand how we could engage our guests and brand enthusiasts in meaningful ways. There is inherent value in really knowing your audience, and developing customized content that mirrors the way that they are consuming information today. At Four Seasons, we quickly understood that the importance was not in merely joining the conversation, but in providing content to inspire and enrich the conversation, both in our social communities and our owned channels.

Today, content marketing is one of the most powerful tools in reaching and retaining new and existing audiences. We dedicate more than half of our marketing budget to digital and focus on building our content hub, with our website serving as the centre of it all. The process by which we create and syndicate information across various owned, paid and earned channels requires nimbleness to adapt quickly. This, coupled with the fact that we are committed to continually creating fresh content, provides guests with a reason to visit us regularly to take part in the evolving conversation.

Content Forward Marketing Approach

The travel experience, particularly the luxury hotel brand experience, inherently fills the aspirational desires of consumers because of the visually appealing product and the level of service and attention to detail that exists on property. Extending a hotel experience and the culture of excellence from a brick and mortar environment into a virtual environment through a content-forward marketing approach is how hotel brands will excel in the digital marketing arena. We know that our single greatest asset is our brand and the Four Seasons promise of excellence, and as we create content we leverage our stunning visuals and stories to bring the world of Four Seasons to life digitally.

To accentuate the brand experience, we leverage owned, earned and paid content outlets within our digital ecosystem. Owned media platforms, such as Fourseasons.com and Four Seasons Magazine are at the core. Guests and future guests navigate to these primary outlets to experience the brand first hand, and therefore, these platforms are a critical piece in bringing the world of Four Seasons to life. Owned media channels reflect the brandís tenants and are optimized with content from our more than 90 properties around the world. What is so important to our guests is the fact that Fourseasons.com and Four Seasons Magazine are both globally relevant with a localized voice. Guests are able to connect with a specific Four Seasons property by viewing beautiful imagery and reading detailed destination descriptions, or they can opt to interact with the Four Seasons lifestyle on the Magazine. The same tone and approach is applied to all of our social media content as well.

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Coming up in March 2018...

Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.