Park Regis by Prince Dubai

Seibu Prince Hotels Worldwide Inc, Japan’s largest hotel chain, is on a mission to bring “omotenashi” – Japanese service from the heart – to the rest of the world under a new global identity.

Seibu Prince Hotels and Resorts unifies the group’s three hotel companies – Seibu Prince Hotels Worldwide, StayWell Holdings, and Prince Resorts Hawaii – encompassing a diverse portfolio of 25,000+ rooms across Japan and the globe, and streamlining the guest experience with one global website, integrated reservation system and loyalty program.

Speaking exclusively to HM, Seibu Prince Hotels Worldwide Inc. President and CEO, Yoshiki Kaneda, said the integration strengthens domestic and international strategies and supports the company’s ambitious expansion plans.

“We have over 100 years history, with 70% of our hotels in Japan. In the next 10 years, we want to position ourselves as a leading global hotel company,” Kaneda told HM.

“We have a very ambitious target to triple the number of hotels from 80 to 250 by 2035. The majority of [new hotels] will be outside Japan, and Australia is one of the key target markets.

Yoshiki Kaneda, Seibu Prince Hotels Worldwide Inc

“Our focus will be on the luxury and upper upscale segments in key gateway cities in Australia – which is not easy, particularly in Sydney as supply is limited.”

With many of the world’s most loved luxury brands originating from Asia, Kaneda believes there is an opportunity to bring Japanese hospitality – which has yet to make a significant impact globally – to an international audience.

“I think that in the luxury and upper upscale segments, we can grow and compete against those big hotel companies,” he said.

Japanese hospitality meets western management.

Since the 2017 acquisition of StayWell Holdings, Seibu Prince has focused on leveraging StayWell’s operational and marketing expertise to drive international growth.

“The hotel industry in the western world has efficient management know how, so if we combine Japanese hospitality and western management, we should have a powerful competitive advantage,” Kaneda said.

In September 2023, the group selected New South Wales – specifically the Southern Highlands’ town of Bowral – as the second location globally for its flexible brand Park Proxi brand with the opening of Park Proxi Gibraltar Bowral, which followed Park Proxi El Hayat Sharm in Egypt.

The Prince Akatoki, London

The luxury Prince Akatoki brand, which debuted in London in 2019, however had to close shortly thereafter due to global pandemic has now just had two successful years of operation in 2022-23, is gearing up for global growth, and so too is Park Regis by Prince, which debuted in Dubai Islands earlier this year with a sophisticated beachfront offering.

A unique collaboration of two brands, Park Regis and Prince Hotels, Park Regis by Prince celebrates the group’s unique bi-cultural heritage, resulting in a seamless fusion of Japanese, Australian and local elements bound together by a shared passion for exceptional hospitality.

While not a primary focus, Seibu Prince is also eyeing opportunities for independent collection hotels. 

“We have created a unique Japanese Ryokan Style boutique hotel offering in a hotel – 16 rooms – the first of its kind in Japan, Takanawa Hanakohro is uniquely placed in a 20,000 sqm garden in the heart of Tokyo,” Kaneda said.

Japan market

Since reopening to international travellers in October 2022, Kaneda said the tourism rebound has been “much better than expected”.

Takanawa Hanakohro

“Historically, the relationship between Japan and Australia has been always good,” Kaneda said. 

“Japan is now very popular for inbound Australia and United States, one of the reasons being the exchange rate is good for these travellers, but also Japan’s rich history and culture.

“The number of American tourists to Japan increased [sixfold from 2022, to 2.05 million in 2023].

“I think inbound business will continue to grow in Japan. The Japanese government has a target to increase total number of inbound travellers to 60 million; just before the pandemic that number was 30 million.”

After losing approximately 70% of hotel industry employees to other sectors in the wake of the pandemic, Japan is rebuilding its hospitality workforce, and Kaneda says there is a lot of work to be done to market it as an appealing career path.

“I think we, as an industry, have to make the hotel business more attractive,” he said.

“The tourism industry will be the engine for Japan’s economic growth in the next 10 years.”

Read this interview in the latest issue of HM.