Filling the Accommodation Shortfall
One Kyoto-based company is helping meet hotel shortages by introducing love hotels to travelers as a unique alternative to traditional accommodation. KS caught up with Takahashi Toshinori from Japaneedz.com to find out what it’s all about.
How did Japaneedz.com come about and how does it work?
Japaneedz.com was extablished to provide a third-party booking, check-in, and multi-lingual support service for the love hotel industry – specifically with the needs of foreign travellers in mind.
With the number of foreign visitors to Japan expected to easily exceed the government’s targets of 20 million by the time the Tokyo Olympics comes around in 2020, there is a rush to create new hotels, guesthouses and other facilities to accommodate them all. Our service provides a simple, affordable way for any of the 8,000 love hotels in Japan to easily complement their traditional pay-per-rest model, with a pay-per-night model, all without having to apply for different permits or licenses, or hire extra staff.
We want tourists from all over the world to enjoy the unique experience of staying in a Japanese love hotel.
What are the advantages to staying at a love hotel for tourists?
For a similarly priced traditional hotel, a love hotel room and bathroom is always much larger – not to mention usually uniquely decorated! The price is always per room and not per person too, so it always represents very good value. The other main advantage is the entertainment systems and services you simply do not find in normal hotels.
What kind of guests stay at the hotels?
All kinds of guests! Everyone from backpackers and couples to families and businessmen. Everyone and anyone can have a great time staying in a love hotel.
What is their reaction when discovering they are staying in a love hotel?
Most guests are fully aware that they are booking a love hotel, but even if they only realize once they check-in we have only ever had positive feedback about their stay. Most of them tell us what a memorable experience it was.
What do the hotel operators think about your service?
We think we are offering an unprecedented service in Japan. Most of the love hotels we deal with have had little or no experience with foreign guests in the past, so having our support to welcome international visitors has been very well received.
How many hotels do you currently represent?
Since starting our service in February 2015, we are now provide booking and check-in support for 20 love hotels in the Kansai area. We list their hotels on our own website japaneedz.com, as well as on popular booking sites including Expedia and Booking.com.
What are the challenges?
Obviously the customs and etiquette of international guests can often differ from Japanese expectations.… So we are currently considering producing some kind of manual for guests to try and alleviate potential culture clash.
What does the future hold for Japaneedz.com?
We will continue to tell the world to about the virtues of the Japanese love hotel. Not only as a unique place to stay when visiting Japan, but as another form of entertainment to enjoy.
Japaneedz Cafe (for check-in and tourist services) is located a 10-minute walk south of Kyoto Station.
Address: 601-8041 Kyoto-shi, Minami-ku, Higashikujo Minami-karasumacho 35-13