Venla Moisio spent two months in Mito hotel.
2 months for a learning period at a hotel is pretty short term and I wanted to be able to learn as much as possible. So instead of sticking to bellhop and front reception I asked the GM if there was anything else I could do or at least try to do.
After some planning we decided that I’d get to participate in a few weddings and in an event held for children. I also got the chance to join some of the lessons they give to the new recruits and before going back to Finland I would GIVE English lessons to them in return. Oh and also some working in the western restaurant Rose and Japanese restaurant Yoshikawa. So exciting!
The main thing to keep in mind in the hotel business is ‘omotenashi’, or hospitality. Customer service at Mito Plaza hotel is about service and hospitality, and it’s important to remember that one does not equal the other. Service is something that is ‘atarimae’, obvious and should be considered as mandatory. Hospitality is one step beyond that. Instead of executing standard customer service, hospitality makes extra effort to ensure customer satisfaction.
The English word ‘hospitality’ is derived from the Latin hospes, meaning “host”, “guest”, or “stranger”. Historically in ancient cultures hospitality involved welcoming the stranger and offering him food, shelter, and safety. I could search for more cool meanings, but I guess that covers enough background for such an important word. In a hotel hospitality is about reading the guests needs and answering to them before the guest even gets the chance to ask for anything. In Japan it’s all about opening doors for the guests, carrying their bags, putting surprise gifts in their rooms, remembering their birthdays and even playing with their kids.
So first some vocabulary! There are three kinds of tourisms: inbound, outbound and domestic. In Japan’s case inbound tourism is when international tourists come to Japan, outbound is when Japanese people go abroad for leisure and domestic tourism is Japanese people traveling inside Japan. Got it?
So spring and autumn are Japan’s high tourism seasons mainly because of cherry blossoms and autumn colors. The weather is also doable since Japanese summer tends to be very hot and thanks to the four seasons winter is pretty boring. During spring Mito Plaza hotel has its peak with inbound guests and there are several travel and tour companies coming to the hotel every day. There is always at least one group of at least 20 people staying at the hotel, but at the highest we had 7 different groups and the total amount of inbound tourists was as high as 180 people. But 2-3 groups per day with 20-30 people is pretty normal.
The peak is mainly during April, since nationally April is the cherry blossom season.
Please read more about Venla’s experiences: http://adventuretimewithvenla.tumblr.com/