Omotenashi, The Heart of Japanese Hospitality

Japanese is well-reputed for their top-notch service. The service culture of Japan always over-delivers, that it is ingrained in them. 

Omotenashi is at the heart of Japanese hospitality. They believe that good service attracts good customers.

“The hosts anticipate the needs of the guest in advance and offers a pleasant service that guests don’t expect.” Muneyuki Joraku

There’s a 8:2 marketing theory, which means that 80% of the sales is produced by the 20% of the customers. So, the quality of the service leads to the satisfaction of the customer, and their frequency of visits decides future of the company.  Not only that, in this modern age, social media is the king of word-of-mouth’s amplification tool, so these 20% are your perfect brand ambassadors, and it’s priceless.

Japanese hotels even send things back to you with no charge. Other countries do that as well, but some at the guests’ expenses.

If you are interested to understand more about Omotenashi, the original article is here:

Post-debate with my friends whether Airbnb is a hospitality or rental business model, my interest in this subject has skyrocketed. 

I am the type of anticipate guests’ needs and go that extra mile for guests, to make their stay a pleasant and memorable one vs. my friend who is more of ‘utilatarian’ type. It’s a rental business, I was told.

If you missed my earlier post, here is the link: 

Things like this happen to the best of us. You are in rush to check out in a hurry to catch a flight home. You did a sweep of the room before you left, but still something was left behind. Most of us have, at one time or another, left something behind at a hotel. Yay or nay? Unfortunately, we aren’t always reunited with our belonging. Some items are negligible, but some are not. Could be a favourite shawl bought as travel momento, your child’s smelly-stinkylicious pillow, or even a favourite dog-eared and well used travel journal.

Poor hat separated from its owner
During last routine checkout cleaning, I found a hat left behind. My friend handles the Airbnb account, and is the key liaison with guests; I do not have direct access to most guests. I wanted to flag it, to check with the guest whether he would like the hat to be sent back, but was cautious of ‘backlash’ from my friends. To cut the long story short, I anticipated retort of ‘if they ain’t looking for it, that means it’s not important; don’t stress yourself over things like this and to leave it.’

I am even happy to pay for the postage from my own pocket to reunite it with the owner, that’s if it’s wanted. 

Yes, they might not even want it, but shouldn’t we ask as courtesy? Put yourself in their shoes. Give your guests a great experience, and they’ll give you a great review. 

Subsequently, there were children’s toys left behind by one of our traveling parents with their 1 year old son, which I kept mum as well.

 I was reunited with my favourite Levi’s® cap 5 years ago, after I accidentally left it behind in a restaurant. So .. ya, I can be stuffy with things as such. 

With my fav Levi’s cap , a cap full of memory (Inle Lake, Myanmar, 2009. Photographer: Pravich Vutthisombut)

As Airbnb host, I will return it back to them at no cost unless if the item is too big or heavy and incur expensive postage charge, then I will probably request for COD (Cash on delivery) arrangement. Added value as such, I was curtly told that only if we are of hotel-scale size, but not a room rental with Airbnb. Service like this is a value, and not to be monetized, no ?

Sadly, perhaps not all think the same. What do you think, if you are a fellow Airbnb host? Am I delusional, or are there like-minded people out there?