Susan Helstab, Executive Vice President of Marketing , Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Susan Helstab has been named one of the “Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing” for 2010 by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI).
Each year, recipients are judged by a panel of senior industry executives for their recent work based on the following criteria: creativity and innovation; cutting-edge sales or marketing campaigns; triumph in challenging situations; and sales efforts that resulted in dramatic gains. This year’s awards will be presented on January 31, 2011 in New York City.
As Executive Vice President of Marketing at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Helstab oversees a global sales and marketing organisation that includes reservations, direct sales, advertising, promotion, public relations, and direct marketing, as well as the brand’s online presence through social media and its web site, and the award-winning Four Seasons print and online magazines.
“It’s a true honour to be recognised in this way,” says Helstab. “I feel very fortunate to have spent the last 23 years of my career in an organisation that encourages innovation. I share this award with every member of my dedicated and creative team, who demonstrate a passion for excellence in all they do.”
As the company evolved its strategies to suit the ways guests and clients communicate, Helstab put digital media to the forefront of the brand’s marketing efforts, with a strong social media presence that facilitates engagement and encourages loyalty. Four Seasons has quickly and strategically grown its base of Twitter followers and Facebook fans, receiving accolades within the industry. This focus will continue as the company relaunches fourseasons.com later this year with experiential and interactive components that give an even greater voice to guests. Four Seasons is also facilitating real-time interaction between its travel industry partners and their clients through a new dedicated site that provides easy ways to share news.
For a brand known for its personalised, customised service, new technologies have also provided creative ways to market in a highly targeted fashion, and facilitate the sharing of experiences. For example, a family-oriented blog is launching this month called Have Family Will Travel where bloggers and writers will share their travel experiences and tips directly with other families planning their vacations. The new Memory Montage on the brand’s Facebook page allows anyone to easily create their own travel video using images, videos and music.
“Our greatest marketing tool has always been the personal recommendation of guests who have stayed with us, and trusted travel advisors who know us well,” notes Helstab. “Now, we have even more platforms to engage and connect our stakeholders in ways that are personal, timely, and meaningful. It’s really an exciting time to be a marketer.”
Helstab joined Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in 1987, and has been responsible for building the Four Seasons brand into the leadership position it enjoys today. In January 2009, she assumed her current role, and now oversees a global network of Four Seasons sales and marketing professionals and agencies, including the company’s Toronto-based corporate marketing team, its worldwide reservations office, and its 16 regional sales offices. They work in conjunction with sales and marketing teams at each of the company’s 84 hotels and resorts in 34 countries.