Interviews with pioneers@Tokyo CASE 04

CASE 04 "We bring high value-added consumer products to Tokyo's trend-sensitive market."

Connectworldwide Japan Co., Ltd. President
Ms. Marjorie L. Dewey

Connectworldwide (CWW) is a consulting firm offering sales marketing and PR support for hotels and municipal tourist bureaus. The company has over thirty offices worldwide. CWW draws on its extensive network, which spans over fifty countries globally, to offer deep insights on local tourism needs and preferences.

「"We bring high value-added consumer products to Tokyo's trend-sensitive market."」

Using its global network and expertise, Connectworldwide Japan Co., Ltd. (CWW Japan), has posted a steady track record providing marketing and sales support to Japanese hotel chains, helping them secure more overseas guests. "Going forward, we want to contribute to bringing in more foreign visitors to Japan by helping improve the quality of services in Japan's tourism industry," says CWW Japan's President Marjorie L. Dewey. Focusing on leveraging English for better visitor support and creating materials to explain services offered in hotels, the company excels at providing accurate and detailed proposals for hotels and municipal tourist bureaus who are seeking to improve services and promotion for guests from overseas.

For instance, seeing to travelers from abroad requires preparing the right in-room television channels and lists of restaurants that match the tastes of visitors from each country. There can also be problems when Japanese customs fail to be properly explained. In addition, because of the language barrier, non-Japanese travelers elect to stay at major foreign hotel chains with branches in Japan, missing the opportunity to enjoy the service found only at Japanese hotels and other local accommodations. The first step is to eliminate this mismatch between travelers' needs and hotels' services by preparing a system which can offer guests a way to understand the very quintessence of the Japanese hospitality, conveying what the Japanese spirit of service is about.

CWW Japan sees major appeal in the Tokyo and Japanese tourism markets, which boast a large economy, ample tourism resources, and a top-quality level of customer service. "Although guests from overseas are interested in history, tradition, cutting-edge technologies, and fashion, their biggest interest is food," says Ms. Dewey with conviction. The fact that travelers emphasize that how relatively unknown eateries offer rich, satisfying selections and that Japanese towns are safe is a testament to the high degree of trust they put in Japan and Tokyo as destinations.

The Special Zone is home to a dense clustering of major hotel chains and small- and medium-sized inns that serve as CWW Japan's clients. Nishi-Shimbashi in Minato-ku, where CWW Japan is located, is also the ideal location because of the easy access. As part of CWW Japan's business expansion in the Special Zone, a consulting firm which has been commissioned by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) to implement the Invest Tokyo Program rapidly identified suitable business partners for the company to jointly develop new business with. CWW Japan was able to draw on connections through the free consulting services to arrange talks and smoothly set up its business in a short span of time. "Thanks to TMG's support, we gained a chance to increase our domestic sales from the get-go," says Ms. Dewey.

With the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Tokyo, as well as Japan, is slated to enjoy a record-breaking number of international tourists, so more businesses will need support in improving services geared at guests from abroad. However, smaller regions and local services are still not accustomed to meet the needs of Western tourists who tend to visit different locations on their own, rather than as part of a tour group. This means small-scale local tourism businesses will need support. Ms. Dewey points out the need to adopt a "non-Japanese viewpoint," saying, "there are many tourism resources in Japan that Japanese people may not take note of but which those from overseas find highly appealing."

The Nezu area, for example, is enjoying major popularity among travelers from overseas as a "cool, old-world part of Tokyo." Ms. Dewey also notes that areas like Asakusa and Akihabara are ideal for walk-and-eat tours to sample local food. CWW Japan plans to step up its research to assess new tourism needs in Japan's different regions and develop new proposals for hotels and tourism bureaus. Japan - and Tokyo - still hold untapped potential for growth in terms of both the quality and volume of their touristic offerings.

(Tami Kawasaki)

Interviews with pioneers@Tokyo

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