Professor Lanz and Dr. Mody on Japan’s Newest Emerging Midscale Brand

skiftmodylanz-650x434Hoshino Resorts, a family-owned hotel company based in Japan that’s been in operation for more than 100 years, just announced its newest brand: OMO. The new midscale brand was designed to appeal to tourists, and to capitalize on the visitor boom that Japan has experienced in recent years, as well as the crowds expected for the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games.

Makarand Mody, assistant professor of hospitality marketing at the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration, said OMO is similar to other brands, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“While it’s a departure from what brands Hoshino has offered thus far, from a global trends perspective, the urban lifestyle hotel concept is something that hotel companies, large and small, are demonstrating a keen interest in, such as, for example Canopy by Hilton, Eaton Workshop, or even Jumeirah’s new proposed lifestyle brand,” Mody said. In that sense, Hoshino’s investment in OMO is perfectly aligned with broader international traveler trends towards locally immersive, design-forward, value-driven experiences. With Tokyo hosting the Olympic Games in 2020, and Japan seeing a tourism boom and an accommodation crunch especially in the urban centers, Hoshino will be keen to have as many hotels up and running in the next two years to capitalize on the market’s potential.”

Additionally, Hoshino said OMO will offer guests “real-time local information.” While the company didn’t elaborate on exactly how it would provide this information to guests, Leora Lanz, a member of Boston University School of Hospitality’s marketing department, said she wondered how it would work.

“If the hotels use this as their unique selling proposition, I wonder what innovative ways they can share this with guests,” Lanz said. “Will it be through augmented reality, via text messages, upon arrival? This can be the unique aspect they can offer.”