A visitor sitting at Tenryu-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan, captured by Masaaki Komori
Despite ongoing challenges, hospitality in Asia Pacific remains a hotbed of exciting development activity. Long established markets are reinventing themselves in response to changing visitor profiles and evolving expectations, while simultaneously a new set of destinations are emerging for tourists to explore once restrictions abate.
With the hosting of the 2020 Olympic Games, Tokyo has become the focus of global attention. Together with Guy Cooke, WATG's resident strategy director in Singapore, we discussed several influential trends in the hotel industry in the Asia-Pacific region.
A Japanese take on luxury
Japan’s luxury, upper upscale and upscale hotel sectors remain under-supplied when compared to other mature international destinations, representing clear opportunities at the top of the market. Visitors are expecting a unique cultural experience, such as omotenashi – the spirit of Japan’s hospitality and service ethos – rather than the standardized service that has historically been more typical in the sector internationally. In these settings, on-site onsen and kaiseki are increasingly prioritized over pools and room service, and a new breed of luxury ryokans are emerging, merging Japanese tradition with exceptional service and facilities.
Vietnamese integrated resort New World Hoiana, and the nearby Hoiana Shores Golf Club, were designed by WATG’s architecture and landscape architecture teams
IRs bet big on Asia
综合度假区，又称为IR (Integrated resorts)，是依托于娱乐业的大型酒店地产项目，配备了各类休闲与娱乐设施。随着大量投资的涌入，IR在亚太地区迅猛崛起。在日益激烈的市场竞争中，新一代综合度假区需要考虑差异化策略，通过创新和引领市场需求的休闲娱乐活动来打造竞争优势。开创独特的目的地体验需要具备对娱乐业及其他行业消费趋势和偏好的独到见地，我们将会在之后作更多分享。
Integrated resorts – also known as IRs – are large-scale hospitality developments anchored by gaming, but with a range of other leisure and entertainment facilities beside. The IR market is proliferating across the region, with a set of new players coming to the table. In the context of such an increasingly competitive landscape, the next generation of integrated resorts will need consider differentiation through innovative and market-driven leisure and entertainment activities as well as the ongoing evolution of the gaming experience. Creating the next unique destination experience requires key insights into consumer trends and preferences of both gaming and non-gaming segments – more from WATG Strategy on that soon.
Cyber wave, in Seoul, South Korea, by Ciaran O’Brien
The ‘Hallyu’ effect
Hallyu中文译为“韩流”，是用来描述韩国民族文化和流行文化风行之势的集合名词。我们发现，越来越多的旅游项目正借力于这些文化元素和IP来打造主题商店、景点和活动等。近期的调研显示，63%*到访韩国的个人旅行者是为了体验其流行文化，每13位**受访旅行者中就有1位表示，他们的韩国之行目的是观摩男子演唱组合BTS (Bulletproof Boy Scouts,防弹少年团)。我们预计，在新一代的酒店、主题公园乃至餐饮领域，这一趋势将会更加显著。
Hallyu is a collective term describing the growth of Korean culture and pop-culture, translating to ‘Korean wave’. In hospitality projects, we are seeing a marked increase in properties leveraging such cultural references and IP for the theming of outlets, attractions and events. In a recent study, 63%* of independent travelers visited Korea to experience its popular culture, and one in every 13** tourists indicated that BTS, a K-pop boy band/cultural phenomenon, was the main reason for their visit. For the next generation of hotels, entertainment parks and even F&B outlets, we expect this trend to become more apparent.
Fun fact: following the success of K-pop, the Korean government has even launched a ‘Hallyu’ department to further support the expansion of the Korean Wave.
* 现代经济研究院Hyundai Research Institute (HRI)
**韩国旅行业协会Korea Association of Travel Agents (KATA)
The WATG-designed Ritz-Carlton Jiuzhaigou, which faces cool temperatures from November to February, opens later this year
A mountain for all seasons
Across Asia Pacific, mountain resorts are increasingly looking to diversify their offering with a focus on summer activities – balancing appeal and revenue generation throughout the year. Operating on a 365-day model is more important now than ever, as climate change threatens many industries – including ski – with unpredictable weather and shorter seasons. Creative programming and activities that cater to a broad visitor mix are key to the development of a successful year-round destination.
Concept for a mountain resort in Japan, designed by WATG
Winter wonder ‘brand’
Ski and mountain resorts in the region are moving away from the traditional self-catering alpine ski condo/chalet concept, with the provision of more luxury accommodation options. International hospitality brands are increasingly making their presence in this space, with a swathe of high-end hotels and branded residences that appeal to affluent and discerning travelers and investors. Destinations such as Niseko are seeing a lot of investment and with it, exciting new product from brands such as Ritz-Carlton Reserve, W Hotels, EDITION, Aman, Capella, Park Hyatt and Six Senses.