executive impact

The spirit of hospitality

8 Comments
By Chris Betros

As the high-end hotel industry continues to suffer amid the ongoing recession, business hotels and inns are doing much better, offering value for money. Among the successful brands is Dormy Inn, which is operated by Kyoritsu Maintenance Co Ltd. Kyoritsu operates 36 Dormy Inns, as well as 16 La Vista spa resorts throughout Japan, 10 restaurants and izakaya pubs.

One of the directors of Kyoritsu is Shigeru Yamada. After spending 30 years in the advertising industry, he joined Kyoritsu five years ago. He says one of the big challenges for Kyoritsu is to attract more foreign visitors to the company’s hotels and resorts.

Japan Today editor Chris Betros visits Yamada at Kyoritsu’s offices in Chiyoda Ward to hear more.

How has the recession affected your business?

The aftermath of the Lehman shock hasn’t had that much effect on our business. Rather, the new flu had a bigger impact in the Kansai and Kanto areas. Japanese companies were discouraging business trips, and that hit us a little. But we do have a lot of loyal and repeating customers.

What are your occupancy rates?

For Dormy Inns, the rate is about 86%; for the resorts, it is around 66%. This is much better than many other hotels. The highest occupancy is weekdays with business travelers.

How about the ratio of foreign guests?

It’s low. The percentage of foreign guests in Dormy Inns is 5-10%. For resorts, it is less than 5%. That is something we definitely want to improve on.

How do you market your inns?

We have our own home pages which can be used for making online reservations. We advertise on TV and in magazines. Travel agencies have a good relationship with us.

What is your philosophy?

Hospitality is the most important factor. For many of our Japanese guests, staying at a Dormy Inn is relaxing and very much like being at home. All rooms have Internet capability.

How do you plan to attract more foreign guests?

First, we have to make sure our hotel employees can speak English. Media interviews like this one are a help. We will do some advertising in English media. We already have an English homepage, and soon we will have Chinese. Unfortunately, you cannot yet make reservations in English, but that is something we are studying.

What are your room rates?

It depends on the location and the room size. The average size of Dormy Inn rooms is 15 square meters and the charge for that is about 8-9,000 yen. Restaurants serve breakfast only.

How many inns and resorts do you currently have?

We have 36 Dormy Inns. There are eight in Hokkaido, six in Tohoku, six in Tokyo, three in Osaka, and others in Nagoya, Takamatsu, Kurashiki and Kanagawa. In six or seven years, we hope to have 100 Dormy Inns. Currently, Hatchobori and Suidobashi are our two biggest Dormy inns, with about 160 rooms.

As for La Vista resorts, there are 16, located mainly near World Heritage Sites. We will probably add one resort a year.

Do you build hotels from scratch?

Up until a few years ago, we tended to buy buildings, but nowadays we build from scratch. We look for locations near a station or expressway exits.

Is the labor market fairly mobile?

Our local hires tend to stay longer. Elsewhere, there is more mobility. Young people have the chance to be promoted.

What is a typical day for you?

I come here around 10 a.m. I visit inns on slow days and inspect a lot of things from the point of view of a business traveler. I visit resorts about twice a month. When I go there, I think of myself as a guest, not an executive, so I often go with my wife.

The idea is to be constantly on the lookout for new ideas. The key to success is to be ahead of other hotels in setting trends, whether it is pet-friendly hotels or camping rooms.

For further information, visit http://www.hotespa.net/business/en/index.html

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


8 Comments
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How to market to foreigners? Well they have an English homepage but can't take bookings in English - how half arsed is that?

Better luck with the Chinese and don't forget the Koreans

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sorry it's even more crazy!

I googled Dormy Inn and can only find a homepage in English for their Korean site which is in English and takes bookings in English.

I did not bother looking beyond the first page of results on google.

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He says one of the big challenges for Kyoritsu is to attract more foreign visitors to the company’s hotels and resorts.

"Unfortunately, you cannot yet make reservations in English, but that is something we are studying."

30 years in advertising, 5 years with the company, yet the problem here isn't obvious? Nope, they need time to "study" it.

I'll stick with Toyoko Inn.

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With rooms averaging 15 sq. m., it's no wonder they can't attract more foreign guests... even APA Hotels, with its atrocious English, does better than this.

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check in is 15:00 and check out 11:00. not bad for a Japanese hotel, but still pretty stingy. elsewhere in Asia, I usually get noon to noon, sometimes with free late checkout til 6 p.m..

That's what Japanese hotels need to do to get more Western tourists.

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They might not have online booking in English yet but their hotels are still available in English on other sites

http://www.japanican.com/hotels/List.aspx?anl=dormy%20inn

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With rooms averaging 15 sq. m., it's no wonder they can't attract more foreign guests... even APA Hotels, with its atrocious English, does better than this.

APA is a hell of a lot more expensive than Dormy, on average. 15sq.m isn't so bad for Japan - you regularly see business hotels of 12 or so.

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As a Malaysian, my favourite budget hotel is Toyoko Inn. It is very well run (by female managers) and all their hotels are a few minutes walks from railway stations and in very strategic locations. The clean and well equipped rooms has everything I need. At 7,000 to 9,000 yen, it comes with free breakfast. The service is excellent!

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