Japanese hotel chains Okura Hotels & Resorts and Hoshino Resorts have both made gradual moves to expand beyond their home ground in recent years.
Okura Hotels & Resorts’ focus is on South-east Asia, evident from the five properties that are opening over the next few years. They are the Hotel Nikko Bangkok (2018), Hotel Okura Manila (2020), The Okura Prestige Phnom Penh (2020), The Okura Prestige Saigon (2020), and Hotel Nikko Hai Phong (2020). In comparison, there’s only one hotel opening in Japan in 2019, the 216-room Hotel JAL City Nagoya Nishiki.
When asked why most of the openings are in South-east Asia, Yuichi Murata, senior sales manager, international sales office, Okura Nikko Hotel Management, explained that the region is where many Japanese companies are establishing or growing their businesses and Okura plans to go where the business travellers are to offer a “bleisure” product.
“It will be weekdays for business and weekends for leisure for this segment there. For instance, the Hai Phong property is located close to factories,” said Murata.
“Compared to other five-star hotels, our brand is not so well-known in the overseas market yet. So our first target is to make it more well known in the Asian market,” he added.
In addition, he shared that in 2020, Okura’s target is to have 100 hotels in Japan and overseas. Currently, the number stands at 75. Moreover, the company’s overall aim is to become the first Japanese global operator within the luxury hotel space.
As for Hoshino Resorts, overseas growth will come with continued focus on expansion in Japan, noted Hiroki Osaki, area manager, global marketing unit.
When asked if the company had a target, Osaki said: “None. This is because the opening of a Hoshino depends heavily on the owner, as Hoshino is first and foremost, a management hotel company.”
Moreover, Osaki elaborated that each hotel is tailored to the location it stands in, and every property has a different concept that emphasises strongly on the local culture. Owners have to be agreeable to the concept as well.
Travellers they are targeting are from Mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong, and Hoshino also hopes to “promote the brand more to South-east Asia markets”.
Hoshino’s most recent overseas property opened in Bali in April 2017, while in Japan, the Hoshino Resorts Kai Alps will have its grand re-opening on December 21, 2017, after an extensive refurbishment.