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THE ROYAL HOTEL, LIMITED



THE ROYAL HOTEL, LIMITED

Introduced from: July 2012-
Introduced at: Rihga Royal Hotel (Osaka), Rihga Royal Hotel Tokyo and Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto (expansion upcoming in the future)
Service Features: Bonus reward according to top-up (deposit) amount
Coupon reward for email newsletter sign-up

Interview

ーーーWhat was the objective and reason for introducing Valuecard?

Our main objective was "to promote visits by adding a communications function to prepaid cards to leverage marketing".
City hotels are not a place to visit as part of daily life, unless there is a clear "reason" to go to a hotel.
People come to hotels for various reasons such as staying, dining at restaurants, or attending banquets. Because of these diverse services, we had a challenge communicating with most guests when they visited us.
The hotel industry is capital intensive, so we need visitors to keep the business going. For customers, "visiting Rihga Royal Hotel" means paying transportation costs and spending time to traveling here.
As part of the effort to reduce these mental and financial costs, we managed to solve part of this challenge with a service where our hotels can reward coupon value to card holders who registered their email addresses or birthdays.
This feature is one of the biggest reasons to introduce valuedesign's cards.
We introduced the Valuecard prepaid system and communications feature (email newsletter feature) together, and offer more "opportunities to visit our hotels" by initiating proactive communications with the support and convenience of the prepaid cards.

ーーーWhat changes have you experienced since installation?

We have witnessed card holders using cards more often for "special occasions", as a result of sending coupon value for birthdays. We had already used an email newsletter, but the rate of response to the birthday coupon email is double compared with the previous newsletter.
Having more opportunities to reach customers, we strongly feel that we are building a base for potential customers.
Our primary communications tool is still printed direct mail due to customers in certain age groups, but as email communication becomes more popular, we are able to reduce communications costs between customers. 
Also, we hope to gain leverage for production development and sales promotion initiatives by understanding more accurate usage trends.
We collected problem solving know-how during the first year after introduction to our flagship hotel in Osaka, so we then started the service at our hotels in Tokyo and Kyoto from May of this year.
Now that convenience for card holders has improved by having more places to use the service other than just Osaka, we are expecting more activity, not just from coupons, but also higher total top up (deposit), and gift card usage.

ーーーWhat are the keys to success?

It has only been one year from introduction and it is too soon to call it a success. We still have challenges to resolve.
For example, we have the fundamental challenge of bridging the generational gap of computer literacy, in order to have customers register their email addresses.
I think we can call it a success when at least approximately 30% of our visitors start realizing the advantages of the cards and of using the service.
The first step is to raise the awareness of more customers. For that purpose, we have been promoting on shuttle bus and POP ads in the hotels, installing charging machines, and promotion by hotel staff, which has resulted in increased numbers of both registered cards and card holders with email registration. I think the key in clearing the first hurdle is to increase hotel staff's awareness of the cards, to convert more card holders.

ーーーWhat are your plans for the future?

Our immediate goal is to increase email registration of card holders. As our staff gets used to handling the cards, we will continue to approach all customers to encourage email registration.
We have already covered those customers who come more than once a year, to bring their cards and register their emails; however, as I mentioned earlier, there are still many customers who only visit once year for a variety of reasons.
You may have been frequently asked, "Do you have XX card?" by cashiers in supermarkets or department stores these days. We wish we could do that too, but due to the nature of a hotel, we have to be very considerate about not to wasting our guests' precious time or ruining the experience when promoting the card and its advantages, to get them to register.
Abiding by the premise that "Time spent in the hotel belongs to the guest" requires an appropriate approach with guests, so building such know-how among hotel staff will lead to more registered card holders, and higher total deposits.
By rewarding a bonus when guests make deposits, guests can naturally benefit from charging; at the same time, we as a capital intensive business can benefit too by securing future visits, which creates a win-win situation.
We want to keep trying, not just to expand business, but also to bring benefits to both sides.
We already have paper gift checks, but we would like to advance the infrastructure development to be able to use the card across the Rihga Royal Hotel group in Japan.
More places means more demand for gift cards, so we would like to stimulate the demand for giving "hotel experience as a gift".
It may be exaggerating to say it, but after the Great East Japan Earthquake, I think that the form of gifts saw diversification from the mere conventional material sense, to the form of experiences, or a sense of values.
What hotels offer as service is exactly those values. We would like to provide products and values, which are conventionally available only inside the hotel, through an online channel and other means outside the hotel so that we can become a customer's choice for various gift giving occasions.

ーーーWhat is your evaluation and expectation of valuedesign?

We expect to learn from your know-how established by installing with various business clients. We want to leverage valuedesign's unique know-how for our hotel marketing.
We also expect networking opportunities with different industries through the valuedesign's client network. We would like to request that valuedesign host a networking event for your prepaid card clients.
Exchanging opinions with different industries gives you a lot of insights when we share the focus point. If valuedesign can play a role as that focus, it will become even more attractive opportunities.
We appreciate your attentive operational support after introducing the service a year ago, and hope to take further step for the future. We expect your long-term support for our sales promotion efforts.

Card Information


Card Name RIHGA PRIME CARD & GIFT
Function Prepaid function (rechargeable type)
Service Currently available for top-up (deposit) at Rihga Royal Hotel (Osaka), Rihga Royal Hotel Tokyo and Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto. Accepted for payment at each hotel's facilities (please visit our website for redeemable stores).
Top Up Requirements Minimum top-up of 1,000 yen in 1,000 yen increments (Two maximum top-up types of 50,000 yen or 200,000 yen)
Expiration Date Three years from the most recent deposit or payment
Special Offers ・Special Top-Up Offers: Reward of 3% bonus for 1,000 yen or more (5% until the end of September 2013)
・Email Newsletter Special Offers: Limited-time 1,000 yen coupon (as of August 2013)

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