From multilingual websites to larger beds, Japanese hotels are trying much harder to cater to the needs of foreign guests. The country wants to attract more visitors after it won the bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games. The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set a goal for the tourist industry to attract more than 10 million tourists in 2013. Around 6 million have visited Japan so far.
According to a recent survey by the Japanese news agency Nikkei the occupancy rate in Tokyo has been 87%. The average hotel occupancy for the whole country is 78% according to data released by the Japanese Hotels Association. Hospitality consultants, who want to help Japanese hotels to attract more visitors to recommend that they should start with the language first. This means that all hotels should have their websites translated into English
Osamu Urasawa, who runs O.H. Co., a company that is specialized in website design and translation specifically for the hospitality industry, said there’s much more demand for multi-lingual websites, offering languages beyond Japanese and English. During the current year, Mr Urasawa said he has created more than 10 websites in Thai, language hotels had little demand for in the past.
The current effort to attract foreign tourists is a very positive development. Ten years ago most Japanese hotels relied mainly on the domestic market and thought that they do not need to depend on foreign tourists.
Mr Urasawa added that many Japanese hotel operators do not have the budget flexibility to immediately change their foreign tourist strategy following the Olympic decision. But he said he expected hotel demand for multilingual websites to rise when the next fiscal year begins in April.
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