Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hotel Exec Opens Up About Japan Situation

SF Gate: Here's a very interesting and heartfelt Q&A with Clarence Tan, CEO of IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan about the current situation at hotels in the country. I offer huge thanks to Mr Tan for taking the time, in the midst of Japan's crisis, to sit down and correspond via email with me (and the readers of this blog) about the situation.

Q: Have your hotels seen any normalization yet?

We operate 33 hotels across Japan, and we were extremely fortunate that none of our hotels sustained any serious damage. With the exception of ANA Holiday Inn Sendai [near the center of the quake] all our hotels are operating normally.

We have seen occupancy levels drop in the northern zone below the normal average. With the uncertainty of the developments at the Fukushima Power Plant and growing concerns relating to food contamination and safety, we are seeing the impact due to:

     >Advisories on non-essential travel to Japan still in place

     >Expatriate communities are heeding embassy advisories and leaving Japan

     >Most multinational corporations have executed their business continuity plans and are
        either operating outside Tokyo or have temporarily relocated to other Asian offices

     >Major airlines are also cutting back routes to Japan

In spite of the dip in occupancy, we are committed to staying open. We have activated crisis response and ensured contingency plans are in place at all levels according to our risk management procedures, but where possible we have kept the hotels running as normally as possible.

Q: What about areas well away from the northern zone....perhaps down south in Osaka and other cities?

Due to the effect of relocation and contingency plans for most companies, we are seeing for the short term strong occupancy levels in areas such as Osaka, Fukuoka and Kobe.

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