Susan Helstab, Principal

I was integral to building the iconic Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts brand into the most awarded hotel company in the world and the global leader in luxury hospitality as the gold standard of service.

Building brand equity requires relentless focus on innovation. The way to develop sustainable competitive advantage is constant evolution of a brand’s value proposition. An example is the Four Seasons Private Jet Experience, which I launched in 2015 to global acclaim, selling out trips at $120K per person, with owned and earned media only and without capital investment or risk to the company.

I introduced Four Seasons to 30 new markets through the effective deployment of sales and marketing strategies through variable cycles. During the economic downturn of 2009 with an unprecedented 20% decline in marketing budget, I was able to increase leadership, capabilities, and effectiveness in direct sales, digital marketing, revenue management, and analytics while reducing headcount significantly and continuing to build brand reputation and market share.

I am proud of the global sales and marketing organization I built at Four Seasons – digital, social and mobile marketing, content marketing, revenue management, and business intelligence. I expanded the company’s digital capabilities to include an e-commerce platform that earned $2.5B+ in revenue since launch, an industry leading website and award-winning social media platform. We earned several digital and social media awards such as the Skift SKIFTIES Award for the Most Effective Brand on Social Media in 2015 and the World Tourism Forum Best Hotel Brand on Social Media in 2015.

Profiled in various business books on leadership and customer focus, I am a guest lecturer at Harvard Business School, frequent speaker at luxury, travel and hospitality conferences, and a Governing Council Member at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and a Cabinet Member for United Way Toronto.

Article Links

Innovation In Social Media Driving Disruption

Leading Through A Downturn

Managing Digital

Marketing for Change

The Importance of Measurement

A Recession Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

Creating Transformational Experiences

Evolving Marketing Strategy