Four Season Goes to Paris

Topics: Dimension, The Culture, Understanding Pages: 4 (1098 words) Published: February 10, 2011
“Four Seasons Goes To Paris”

This case study presents a clear example of the two simultaneous challenges of entering the global market with a well established brand and culture. The first challenge, and one that might seem obvious, is that of understanding the culture with which you hope to create a successful partnership of sorts, and the second challenge is that of understanding the traits, characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of your own brand or corporate culture, and how you may need to adapt it.

The case study discusses how the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts had decided to operate a luxury hotel in Paris, France. The Four Seasons strong brand and excellent reputation certainly had proven to be a competitive advantage nearly all of their global locations, and to an outsider it would seem that a move to Paris would be rather seamless. Four seasons not only had the reputation, but they also had a record of strong financial performance. Four Seasons revenue per room was 32% higher than their US competitors. Four Seasons had, as part of their culture, adherence to the “golden rule” which was to “treat others as you wish to be treated.” However, the Four Seasons also understood that implementing the golden rule means understanding how others actually want to be treated.

Some of the key challenges the Four Seasons faced included navigating the French Labor laws, understanding managerial accountability, the differing perceptions of time, the French tendency toward “emotional swings” and the “de-demonizing” of the United States. The last challenge grew out of the spectacular failure of Disney to understand French culture when they opened EuroDisney. The Four Seasons is actually a Canadian based company but they were aware of that not everyone knew that, nor could they be convinced that there existed any notable difference.

In a time when corporate Visions and value statements are debated in regard to whether they are effective, or even...
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