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Recession-fed tensions grow in Luxury Hotel Industry
Jul 6, 2009

A week ago I blogged about the internal battle going on within the Four Seasons Hotel chain for control of their Brand's direction.  The struggle is between the CEO of Four Seasons, whose ironclad contract with owners of the company is causing directional challenges to the Brand's Strategy and Culture.  The latest chapter in this developing story is unfolding at Aviara their resort hotel in the San Diego Market. ( LA Times)

Brands , regardless of their designation, definition or positioning, have become what they have by how they do what they do.  In this economic recession, changes or adjustments are required as need dictates, but a very simple  test of how radical an adjustment is required, must be read through those customers that have been loyal to your brand and who have positioned you where you are.  If overreacting to a situation takes you far off your basic strategy, you potentially put at risk, all of what got you to where you are.  The steward of a brand has the very serious responsibility to listen to everyone about concerns, issues and challenges to a Brand.  They must gather information from customers, suppliers, experts, shareholders and stakeholders and react or respond as required being ever mindful of where you have come from, where you are and where you need to go.

In the case of Four Seasons, some ownership of  their individual hotels are pressing for adjustments to brand strategy, specifically price and service, that potentially can have a long term impact on the future of their brand and their culture.  The Four Seasons, as the benchmark for Luxury Hotels throughout the world needs to stay true to its purpose and values, absorb the short term "hits", but come through these difficult times, stronger than they were before the downturn began.  The need/demand  for Luxury Brands will not go away, it will redefine itself. I believe the first element of the economy to return to "the way they were" will be Luxury Brands, because those customers that use them, will emerge first.  "Don't abdicate the throne." 


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