With Japan’s initial target of 20 million visitors by 2020 – the year Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics – almost within reach four years ahead of schedule, the government has just announced a revision of the targets to 40 million instead.
According to Japan National Tourism Organization, the estimated number of international visitors to Japan in January 2016 reached 1.85 million, representing an increase of 52 percent over the same period in 2015. That is the highest figure for January and the second highest on a monthly basis since July 2015.
The positive outlook bodes well for tourism businesses within Japan, with hotels eager to be ready to handle the influx. As such, many are now looking for solutions that will help them attract international travellers while still maintaining a healthy stream of domestic business.
“Hotels in Japan have been doing well just filling the rooms mostly with domestic tourists, but there is now a lot of talk in the market about how to tap into the huge global market that is growing at an incredible rate,” said Pierre-Charles Grob, Managing Director of FASTBOOKING in Asia.
“Our message to hotels is to prioritize two tasks – develop a direct booking channel, and create a watertight revenue management strategy that can manage all booking channels with best results. It is important to get these two things right ahead of managing high volumes of international business,” Grob added.
FASTBOOKING has already developed a strong business in Japan – working with over 300 hotels including Prince Hotels and Resorts, Fujita Kanko, Tokyu Hotels and Resorts, Hankyu Hanshin, Century Southern Tower, and Park Hotel Tokyo- and recently signed contracts with the Ishin Group and Okura Nikko Hotel Management.
Okura Nikko Hotel Management, with 74 hotels in its portfolio is working with FASTBOOKING to redesign its website for international appeal and to make it user-friendly across all types of devices. Aside from developing the group’s corporate website, FASTBOOKING has also been tasked to develop websites for its various brands – Okura Hotels and Resorts, Nikko Hotels International and Hotel JAL City.
“We have more than 70 hotels in our group, many, if not all, wanting to target global markets especially in Asia with countries like China. We are looking to FASTBOOKING to help us specifically develop anoptimized mobile strategy since the mobile platform is the key to success,” said Masaya Hasebe, Deputy Director of Marketing, Sales & Marketing, Okura Nikko Hotel Management.
Ishin Group, with 16 hotels in Japan, is focused on building its international business and has engaged FASTBOOKING to help. Development of its corporate and property-level websites has begun, with FASTBOOKING powering a distribution platform with a booking engine that handles both domestic and international markets, as well as run traffic generation programmes.
“We were looking for a one-stop shop – an expert in digital distribution that could provide us with a single platform for all that we needed and of course to help us grow our direct bookings. We believe we have found that in FASTBOOKING,” said Michael Nigitsh, President & CEO of Ishin Hotels Group.
Japan is FASTBOOKING’s top market in Asia Pacific. It maintains a team of nine people in Japan including account managers, web project management and support staff.