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When we looking at the world from a hotel or, broader yet, from a tourism standpoint, how the world goes on around us becomes clearly visible. TRUNK President Yoshitaka Nojiri has a deep insight into the hotel business based on the market trend. How was the originality of TRUNK(HOTEL) born?
Currently, the world’s tourism industry is said to be the third key industry after energy and chemical product industries. It has already surpassed even the automobile industry. The growth potential of the tourism industry has drawn attention for over 20 years, and European countries, especially France and Spain, succeeded as tourism-orient countries by applying growth strategy to tourism from an early stage. In Asia, Thailand and South Korea had also put forth effort into their tourism industry from the very early stages.
However, Japan has a deep-rooted thinking that it can remain successful in manufacturing industries, based on the overwhelming successful experience as an industrial nation. Tourism industry was dismissed as what underdeveloped countries should focus on, and Japan could not make a right decision at right time.
Another reason why Japan failed to recognize the importance of the tourism industry is its large population. As population increases, GDP also increases, and this allowed industries to rely entirely on domestic demand. In a sense, Japan had a special market situation. Until the 2000s, the number of annual foreign tourists in Japan was less than 10 million people. However, by advocating itself as a tourism nation, the number exceeded 24 million in 2016. France and Spain have more than 100 million visitors per year, and I think the number of foreign visitors in Japan will grow to approximately 60 million in a few years to come.
Compared with other countries around the world, Japan has unique potentials. First, food is good anywhere. In no other country can people purchase quality food at such a low cost. For 1,000 yen, you can enjoy a safe, quality meal. For 10,000 yen, you can experience an unbelievably delicious meal. In many other countries, this is not the case.
Natural beauty is another plus. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery of each season. The country stretches from north to south, so different areas appear completely different. Moreover, Japan has truly unique culture that is represented by cultural assets like shrines and temples, local specialties and festivals, elegant buildings, magnificent scenery, and traditional crafts.
While the number of visitors to Japan continues to increase, the number of business hotels, especially those offering small rooms (around 10 m2), are increasing at an alarming rate. It is an interesting trend—hotels for the upper-middle or upper class are not expected to increase. Our boutique hotel targets that segment.
Although this seems to be a niche business, but there are a wide range of inbound tourists, and considering the current situation of the worldwide hotel market, we believe there is a high potential demand for boutique hotels.
Talking of luxury getaways in Japan, one may think of hot spring inns. In these days, I try to make time to stay at these traditional inns, but I really did not find them so attractive. First, their meals are not tasty. Their menu is just standardized—I wonder why they offer the same shrimp dumpling everywhere. At these hot spring inns, they need to deliver food to different rooms at the same time, so the menu and cooking methods must be simplified to make it possible. And the quality of the souvenir corner has remained the same for many years…
The lack of flexibility is another characteristic of hot spring lodging. They need to be more creative and change their concepts, including meal time and activities offers. Recently, there are a few independent hot spring inns that try to add new values to guest experience. For example, Satoyama Jujo in Niigata—just eating rice there is worth the trip. They do not feature any high-quality imported ingredients, but the chemical reaction between the rice and local natural water is just superb. Inns with such distinctive features are far more attractive and memorable than hotels that aim to be average in every aspect.
In the same way, we thought carefully about who exactly would understand the merit of TRUNK(HOTEL). Then, we defined our target guests—seasoned travelers with a unique set of values, or go-getters who visit interesting places all over the world and want to meet other interesting people. If we can create new values they want, customers will be attracted to us. So, the final answer should be “originality.”
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TRUNK is always with Tokyo.
TRUNK President Yoshitaka Nojiri’s project to discuss the strategy, ideas, and originality of TRUNK(HOTEL). In this issue, he will explain where TRUNK-ness lies and reveals why they are attached to the city of Tokyo.
Creativity is the one and only identity.
TRUNK President Yoshitaka Nojiri talks about the quintessence of the "hotel," which is full of various lines of business. This time we will discuss the consideration and practice of one of the most important aspects of TRUNK which it emphasizes over everything―creativity.
A hotel that is closed during the New Year’s holidays? TRUNK creates a new way of working
At TRUNK(HOTEL), we do not have work manuals, and our staff members themselves decide how to work based on our four core values: originality, innovation, contribution, and sincerity. Our way of working is only made possible because we are a group where each individual has a sense of ownership. General Manager Hisao Koga, Wedding Division Manager Sachiko Hayafune, and Accommodations Division Manager Daichi Ogihara will discuss these efforts and achievements.
A discussion by Asia’s leading hoteliers 【Part 2】What is important when creating a unique hotel.
Design Hotels, an international hotel community consisting of only high-quality, sophisticated, independent hotels in 50 countries around the world.
Along with Vice President of Design Hotels Asia-Pacific Division, Mr. Jinou Park serving as facilitator, and Singapore’s highly talented hotelier, Mr. Lou Lik Peng, “A discussion by Asia’s leading hoteliers.” In Part 2, they will underscore important aspects of creating a unique hotel that is strongly rooted in its surrounding area.
A discussion by Asia’s leading hoteliers 【Part 1】What is the driving passion behind their hotel development?
Design Hotels is an international hotel community consisting of only high-quality, sophisticated, independent hotels in 50 countries around the world. Design Hotels sets high eligibility requirements for participation in terms of design and stories, and it currently has three partners in Japan. Amongst them, the only hotel in Tokyo is TRUNK(HOTEL).
When Nojiri visited Singapore, he successfully had a talk with Mr. Lou Lik Peng, Singapore’s highly talented hotelier who was involved in creating The Old Clare Hotel in Sydney and Town Hall Hotel & Apartments in London, both of which are also Design Hotels members. In Part 1 of this conversation, Mr. Jinou Park, Vice President of the Asia-Pacific Division of Design Hotels, also joined as facilitator as they talked about their driving passion behind their hotel development.
Until TRUNK(HOTEL) opened
Born in Shibuya, Tokyo, TRUNK(HOTEL) is the first boutique hotel of TRUNK Co., Ltd.
A brand new hotel with its unique “Socializing” concept, we welcome many domestic and international guests.
We have built TRUNK(HOTEL) carefully over a long course of time, about 5 years from conception to completion. HR Director Yasuhide Ichikawa, who has worked closely with TRUNK President Nojiri through the entire process of preparing, talks about the circumstances and behind-the-scenes of the trial and error process.