P: Hello, my name is Paul Perez. I’m a writer of The New York Week. Is this the PR department?
M: Yes, it is. How can I help you?
P: Sorry to bother you when you must be busy. I am writing a series of articles on how the Olympics impact business and I found out that your hotels are popular among tourists visiting Japan. If possible, I would like to conduct a little interview and make it part of an article in a future issue.
M: I see. It’ll be my pleasure to help. My name is Toru Manabe and I am in charge of PR. I would suggest having the interview via Skype or another online chat service, since I suppose you are calling from New York.
P: That will be helpful for us. Would you mind if I asked for your e-mail address, so that I could send you my Skype ID?
M: Not at all. Please e-mail me at … do you have a pen?
P: Yes, please go ahead.
M: Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P: email@example.com. OK, I will e-mail you right away.
M: May I ask what you are interested in knowing, so that I can prepare well?
P: Of course. I would like to ask how your business has been doing in recent years, so it will be great if I can have some figures. Also, could you tell us about your ideas on how Abenomics influenced your business and how you plan to attract tourists during the 2020 Olympics?
M: I see. Let me write that down … Is there anything else?
P: No, that’s it for now. Thank you for your time, Mr. Manabe. I’ll e-mail you and let’s set up a Skype meeting.
M: Yes, I’m looking forward to it. Thank you for calling.
Please understand that we are not a listed company and we basically keep figures confidential.
I do not have the right to disclose details, but I can give you a rough idea.
Let me send you the figures by e-mail later.
P: Hello, can you hear me?
M: Hello Mr. Perez. This is Manabe. I can hear you loud and clear.
P: Great. Please call me Paul. I don’t want to take up too much of your time, so shall we get started? And also, would it be OK if I recorded this conversation?
P: Thank you. First of all, how has your business been since Prime Minister Abe came into position?
M: Well, since 2012, there has been a steady and quick growth of tourists from Asia, particularly China. Our hotels are also enjoying the effect.
P: OK, do you have any figures that prove the effect on your business?
M: Well, please understand that we are not a listed company and we basically keep figures confidential. I do not have the right to disclose details such as sales, but I can give you our growth rate. Between 2012 and 2013, we grew by approximately 4% in sales and between 2013 and 2014, we grew by around 7%.
P: That does sound like steady growth.
M: Yes, we have been getting more exposure in travel agencies in China and we have already started to get some returning customers from China.
P: That’s great. Could I possibly borrow the exact growth rate figures to put on the article?
M: That shouldn’t be a problem. Let me send you the figures by e-mail later.
P: It seems like many of your customers from overseas come from China. Do you happen to know the breakdown of customers by the cities they are from? M: That might be a little difficult to pull up, but I’ll see what I can do. I’ll ask for the information internally.
If you’d like, I can introduce a person in charge of customer service. She should be able to give you more details.
P: OK … was there anything else … oh yes, at the Olympic bid, the term Omotenashi was used to express the Japanese spirit of selfless hospitality. At your hotel, how does that take shape, or how will you show Omotenashi during the Olympics? I’m personally interested.
M: Well, our level of hospitality is already one of the highest in the world and we plan to maintain our service quality throughout and after the Olympics. In addition, we are now training Japanese and non-Japanese staff who are bilingual or trilingual so that they will be able to provide the same quality service in foreign languages. If you’d like, I can introduce a person in charge of customer service at our hotels. She should be able to give you more details.
P: That’s a great idea.
M: Her name is Minako Shimizu. I can set up another Skype meeting between you and Shimizu-san later.