The Long-term Impacts of Fukushima on Hotels & Tourism Worldwide

By Steven Ferry Chairman, International Institute of Modern Butlers | September 18, 2011

Is it or isnt it?

Fukushima.

Is it a non-issue for all but those living around the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, as governments and obliging media have been saying; or are the meltdowns spreading invisible tentacles of radioactive death around the world, as some are insisting and others are wondering, a sense of unease at our prospects for the future. How, then, would these tentacles impact hotels and tourist destinations as news radiated into the consumer consciousness and people changed their eating and travel habits?

Well, sorry to disappoint those who like a good drama to chew on, but the government and officials happen to be right on this one, once the science is understood.

PR mishandlings have resulted in (mostly unnecessary) loss of hospitality business in Fukushima and surrounding areas, including Tokyo; but no impact has been felt in other countries (with one exception, which has seen a big pick- up in business); and no future impact is to be expected from the feared-by-some collapse of all living systems.

If you had doubts about which way it would go, read on, put them to rest: There are enough real issues in life without being distracted by invented ones.

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.