The APA way-Alays pleasant amenities
By Chris Betros
Tokyo-Fumiko Motoya is currently an easy person to recognize. As president of APA Hotel Co Ltd, Japan’s largest business hotel chain, her cheerful face adorns billboards, in which says “I am a company president”, she appears on TV, in magazines and news papers and ehr face is on the company’s brands of water, curry and other products.
She is also famous for her collection of colorful hats which now number about 240.
As we enter Motoya’s office, she and her husband Toshio, APA’s CEO, greet us at a large boardroom table covered with full-page ads for APA, books about the company and, of course, all the APA products. The group currently has 415 hotels for a total of 13,253 rooms. Of those, 62 are in Tokyo’s 23 wards and a new one is about to open in Ochanomizu. The company’s success rests heavily on its 11,808,804 card members (as of September 30), the fact that all its hotels are within three minutes’ walk of a train or subway station and what the brand’s initials stand for-“Always pleasant amenities” said Motoya.
The three letters are the middle three letters of the word Japan, making it easy to remember, she adds. This year has been a big year for APA in terms of overseas expansion. “We currently have 40 hotels in total across the U.S. and Canada; our first grand opening in that area was the Apa Hotel Woodbridge in New Jersey on June 20, and we acquired the hotel chain coast hotel”, Motoya said.
“We are in our second year of the expansion plan Summit 5-II that we announced in April 2015, and we have successfully opened the Apa Hotel Hiroshima Eki Mae Ohashi, the largest hotel in the Chubu Shikoku area with 727 rooms. We also worked to expand our business in areas outside of Tokyo more specifically the central cities of the regional areas.”
The next big project is a Yokohama which will have 2,400 rooms, making it Japan’s largest hotel.
“Yokohama is a great location for tourists because of the beautiful cityscape and its accessibility to Tokyo,” said Motoya. “With international events such as the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics coming up, we strongly hope that a large number of tourists from around the world will come to Yokohama. We will cooperate with the city’s Kitanaka Street North District Redevelopment Promotion plan by recovering the walls of the historical Bankokubashi Building, formerly located in the same area and now deconstructed, on the lower floors, and taking into careful consideration the deign harmon y with neighboring buildings. As an urban resort, which will be the new hotel’s theme, we plan on installing a large common bathtub, an outside pool and poolside restaurants. Its location near the station meets the needs of the Apa Hotel users. Currently, there are over 11.8 million AP hotel users and most are business persons. In addition, we think that we will be able to attract many foreign visitors as we are number one among all the business hotels in the nation, with the largest number of deals with foreign online travel agents.”