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Why do so many Japanese hotels and ryokan charge by the person instead of the room?

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Because one person renting a 12 mat room is a waste?

Even if you put 4 people in a 12 mat room you should actually get on your knees and humbly in an envelope often them a big chunk of cash because you are suppose to feel guilty about taking all that space that they could have rented to 12 people instead.

Plus, we all know how difficult it is to change a futon sheet. Takes me hours. I just cannot get out of the sheet after I climb in there to tie those strings from the sheet to the futon loops. Why are they so short? Have they never heard of Velcro?

Plus, vacuuming 12 tatami mats takes ages. The wear and tear on the vacuum costs.

Just my opinion. :-)

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Why do so many Japanese hotels and ryokan charge by the person instead of the room?

Because they can.

11 ( +14 / -4 )

Besides cleaning you also have to consider food breakfast, etc costs for the Hotel.

If they will charge per room it matters if 2 or 4 people stay there, in many western hotels they charge you separate for many things like extra bed, etc.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Because they can make more money!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Since dinner and breakfast is included most of the time.

Also in western runned hotels the price for a single bed room and a minisuite differs. Ryokans are mostly minisuites made for accomodation of at least two so the price is different.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Same reason estate agents and landlords still charge key money and renewal fees, etc. Because (Japanese) people continue to pay for it without complaint.

With that said, for ryokans, where food or onsen usage is included, it would make sense to charge extra for additional people but it 'shouldn't' just be 2x the price.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Because they can, and it's more money for them period...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I've been in Japan too long even to think this is strange. Don't European hotels charge per person?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Maybe instead of asking a bunch of random people on the Internet whom we have no reason to think could possibly know the answer to this question, JT could possibly wrangle some staff member who speaks Japanese and send them out to hotels and ryokans to ask them? It seems like the sort of thing a journalist would do.

4 ( +4 / -1 )

the same with karaokes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It works both ways. Guests may get a better deal and for the hotel/inn it could make a difference between having at least one occupant or none.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As they said, because they can. If nobody complains about it, no change will be made. And in the case Yelnats described, the 12-person tatami room would just cost the price of full booking, regardless of how many stay there.

That the hotel puts you in such a big room is their mistake for booking..or they don't have enough business and are willing to "take the loss".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I've been in Japan too long even to think this is strange. Don't European hotels charge per person?

Yes they do, and only Americans seem to complain, but especially if there isn't an ice maker in the corridor to boot.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Some small hotels do charge per person per night like in Europe because it enables them to track actual room usage and breakfast numbers, as well as complying with fire regulations.

3 ( +2 / -0 )

lucabrasiJUN. 30, 2015 - 11:54AM JST I've been in Japan too long even to think this is strange. Don't European hotels charge per person?

They charge by both in the U.S. There is a base charge for the room (differing, of course by size, etc.) and a per person charge thereafter. Two people in a double queen room will be less than three people in the same room.

It's dumb to begin with to compare Western style hotels to ryokan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

" Don't European hotels charge per person? Yes they do, and only Americans seem to complain"

Not really. I recall the British B&Bs charge around 30 to 40 percent for extra person, mainly coz you got a big cooked breakfast that kept you going well past lunch.

In Japan, it's 100 percent. And too often in my experience, the Japan breakfast in volume weight terms is mostly boiled white rice and then a few meager servings like a boiled egg, miso soup, and a slender filet of salty fish, green tea. No coffee, of course.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm with lucabrasi. Asking the question seems stranger to me than the per-person charge.

A very quick look at hotel prices in London seems to indicate that the charge for a double/twin room is roughly double the price of a single, and two-thirds the price of a triple. And there's a separate charge for breakfast. So two people end up paying roughly double what one person pays, just like in Japan. Slightly different route, same outcome.

it would make sense to charge extra for additional people but it 'shouldn't' just be 2x the price.

It isn't. One person occupying a room intended for two or more guests will be charged a bit more, so it isn't just 2x the price for two people. Or rather, since prices in ryokan are usually based on the assumption of multiple use, it isn't just half for one person.

Maybe instead of asking a bunch of random people on the Internet whom we have no reason to think could possibly know the answer to this question, JT could possibly wrangle some staff member who speaks Japanese and send them out to hotels and ryokans to ask them? It seems like the sort of thing a journalist would do.

But that would deprive posters of the chance to rant (yet again) about how everything is much better/more logical/cheaper/nicer back home.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Someone brought up a fire regulation thing. That makes sense to know how many people are in the building, but only if you have a sign out sheet like high school kids leaving campus for lunch.

If the firemen are concerned, they should check the stairwells. How many of you have ever seen stairwell clutter in ryokans and other venues?

Perhaps the high costs could go for more inspections.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Because of the 'uniqueness' of the services offered here, silly.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

the same with karaokes.

Many karaoke places will let you rent their larger rooms for a flat fee.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

it's more about maximizing profit. Nothing more.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

it's more about maximizing profit. Nothing more.

Hotels that charge by the room aren't in it for the profit?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@cleo

Yes, the the hotels are in for profit. But if you compare with most of the western countries, there is a difference between fairness and greed. Japanese owners are greedy.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

sfjp330

Well I can't claim to know 'most of the western countries', but in a comparison between Japan and London, I'd say London definitely wins the Greedy Stakes.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Becasue that is the norm in Japan and will continue to be until it affects their occupancy. Plus they often throw in a (rubbish) breakfast and a (better) dinner.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The title mentions Hotels and Ryokans which actually are quite different in terms of settings, operations, services and experiences. Comparing such could be a little difficult.

For me the main critical point is, " Why do Japanese hotels charge by the person?"

Many mid-level (3-4star) hotels which offer only the basics charge per person. For example when my wife, daughter and I stayed in such a place in April and paid ¥7,000 each that brought it to a total of ¥21,000 for a very ordinary room.

We love to go skiing and the tatami hotel rooms we often use with 4 people in X ¥8,000 + each, equates to ¥32,000 - a pretty stiff price for no bath/shower. Of course for one person I guess it's reasonable, but it's too much for a very moderate room.

Other cases abound.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think charging per person dates back to the time of the original ryokans located for travellers on the major highways. Then you didn't rent a room but instead a bed so the room would be shared with other travellers. I guess this was to reduce the prices for those travellers. The cost of dinner and breakfast is included but I suspect in the Edo period that would have been more basic. Many places don't charge the double for two guests in the a room. 4.5 mat room 1 guest ¥4,500, two guests ¥6,500.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I was a travel agent in the U.S., and basic hotel rooms are the same price for 1 or 2 people. So even if you wanted to sleep on the couch, 3rd person rates apply (but often if the 3rd is a kid it is free.)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My family wanted to go to Universal Studios. Hotel and transportation was so expensive - it was cheaper and better to go to Singapore and stay at the Marina Bay Sands hotel (yes, the one with the swimming pool on top) and go to Universal Studios Singapore (and everything is in English) than it was to go and stay in Osaka for a family of four.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Bjones:

Actually just went to USJ (we are close enough to drive fortunately) and you're right... some pricing there is very..wonky.

When making reservations for a group of 4, we had the option of getting 1 room with 3 big big beds to share among 4 people..or pay the same price and get 2 rooms, each with 2 beds.

...yeah you can guess which option we went for :D

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mmm, maybe for the same reason that I charge private one-on-one students more than group students? To make a living wage.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When my J-wife and I visit Ryokan's, the high point is the onsen and then the banquet of sumptuous food so naturally the cost of the meal and service outlays the room cost.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Hawkeye - I don't think that has anything to do with the topic at hand.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hawkeye - or is even correctly punctuated.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This all still doesn't make sense. Because if 5 people stay in one room in Ryokan, they would pay same as if they stayed in separate rooms, but have less comfort staying in one room.

However, for Ryokan it is absolutely same service whether one or five people are staying in a room - they just get their profit multiplied.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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