During a long wait at an airport, with a little too much time on my hands, I counted the number of countries I visited. I’m up to 55, with the most recent visit to Honduras and Guatemala. Yaxha, along the border with Belize, was an absolute highlight of the trip. Here we were, hiking through a long-abandoned city in the midst of 3,000-year-old Mayan ruins, dense jungle and lots of wildlife. It’s awe-inspiring to experience up close what the Mayans achieved, the knowledge they already had way back.
Apart from all the sights, travel enriches you in many different ways. Personally, I like to visit unique and culturally diverse destinations, explore, try new cuisines and meet new people. I feel it provides a richer understanding of people, a deeper empathy and openness to the unfamiliar.
This is why I’m so supportive of a program we have at Four Seasons that provides opportunities for our colleagues to go out on “Task Force.” Our employees come to the rescue of a sister property during a particularly busy period and have the opportunity to work in a totally new environment — swap a city center for an island environment, a business hotel for a resort, domestic for international, perhaps take on a position in a slightly different role to challenge themselves or help them along on their career path.
Four Seasons is well recognized for many such programs, and with good reason — they deliver great results. It allows us to nurture talent from within and reward our employees in tangible ways. Our colleagues return with renewed energy, appreciation for a new culture and even a different way of looking at the world and their place in it.
This experience has proven to be beneficial to the guest experience as well. As hoteliers, we more than most should encourage travel at every level.
It’s a great big world out there. Country number 56, I’m coming for you!