Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Jacobs

Heather Jacobs

VP Human Resources Europe/Middle East/ Africa, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Heather Jacobs first started with Four Seasons by working summers - initially as a Front Office Intern in 1992 at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago and then as Hostess in 1993 at the Four Seasons Los Angeles. She began her career in earnest as a Manager In Training in 1994 in the Rooms Division of the Ritz-Carlton Chicago (a Four Seasons Hotel). She then made her way to Human Resources via Housekeeping and the Front Office, and was appointed Human Resources Manager in 1995. In November 1996, Ms. Jacobs relocated to The Pierre Hotel (then a Four Seasons Hotel), starting as Employee Relations & Benefits Manager, Assistant Director and then, Director of Human Resources in October 1998. Interested in the global aspects of Human Resources, Heather was promoted to Director of Human Resources Administration in January 2000, helping develop and implement global Human Resources policies, procedures and competitive practices. She has helped to shepherd the employment brand and has instilled the Four Seasons culture into our international portfolio, all with an eye to aligning HR practices with the global business strategies of the company. In June 2004, Ms. Jacobs and her family relocated to Geneva, Switzerland as Area Director of Human Resources for Europe, the Middle East and Africa where she tackled the complex issues of new development, pre-opening assistance, and general Human Resources responsibilities. Ms. Jacobs was promoted to Vice President in July 2007. In her current role, she assists in the selection and development of Senior leaders for the region and leads the Human Resources professionals in 30 properties, spanning over 20 countries with responsibility for more than 10,000 employees. In this role she has responsibility for the development and implementation of Human Resources policy, process and procedure including recruitment, selection, retention, learning and development, legal compliance, employee benefits, employee relations, employment practices and procedures, and employee communications. Ms. Jacobs holds a BS, Hotel Management, Cornell University, 1994. She is a Certified Global Professional in Human Resources (“GPHR”) - 2006, and active with the International Tourism Partnership, acting as Chair of Executive Committee 2012-2014. She has been on the Executive Committee since 2005 (leading hospitality companies dedicated to environmental and social responsibility in the industry).

Ms. Jacobs can be contacted at 41-22-707-8274 or heather.jacobs@fourseasons.com

Coming up in November 2019...

Architecture & Design: Biophilic Design

The hospitality industry is constantly evolving to meet and exceed guest expectations. As a result, hotels are always on the lookout for new ways to improve the guest experience, and architecture and design is an essential part of this equation. Bold design is often the most effective way to make an exceptional first impression - an impression guests use to distinguish between brands. One design trend that is being embraced worldwide has become known as “Biophilic Design.” Biophilic design is based on the concept of biophilia, which is the theory that human beings have an innate tendency to seek out nature, natural elements, and natural forms. Biophilic design is more than hotels simply adding a surplus of plants; it involves incorporating specific design elements into a hotel in order to imbue it with a sense of wellness and well-being. Some of those elements include exposure to natural lighting; views of nature and rooms with a view; natural architectural patterns; salvaged or reclaimed woods of all types; reclaimed metals; sustainably sourced stone; living green walls and vertical gardens; and direct and indirect exposure to nature. Hotels that have incorporated biophilic design into their properties are reaping the benefits associated with this trend including reduced stress responses, better air quality, lower energy costs, and more positive guest reviews. Biophilic design has also been shown to improve guest moods and to satisfy consumer demand for environmental responsibility. Savvy hotel owners and managers are aware that nature-inspired elements enhance their guests' comfort and well-being, which is why this trend is becoming so prevalent. Biophilic design is just one topic in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.