100 Next-Era Leaders in Asia 2015 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

Hoshino Resort Co.

President Yoshiharu Hoshino

Message to young people
There are two things I want to say to young people. First, come to our snowy mountains to ski. Second, you must have ambition. People who do not have any ambition end up at the end of their lives at a place different from those who had. Please think hard about what your ambition is.

When I was growing up, my house was a hot spring inn surrounded by a river and mountains. I played outdoors a lot and the only thing I remember I doing as an elementary school student was playing. I began playing ice hockey when I was a junior high school student and became a regular member of the ice hockey team at my university when I was a first-year student. As my team was struggling to meet its targets, I analyzed the problems facing our team and laid out a plan to improve our skills and meet the targets, after which I decided to become the captain of the team when I was a third-year student with out waiting for approval from the coach or fourth-year players.

After graduating from university, I studied hotel management at a graduate school in the United States with a view to taking over my family business. When I left Japan, I used to be fascinated by hotels and resorts abroad because I thought hotels outside Japan were cool whereas Japanese hot spring inns weren’t. But two years of U.S. graduate school significantly changed my view and opened my eyes. I realized that the hospitality and culture of Japanese inns, which were considered too old-fashioned, were things we should take pride in.

After returning from the United States, I began working at the hot-spring inn run by my family but many workers quit because of drawbacks unique to a family business. After I took charge, I tried to have good workers continue working with us for a long period of time. So I tried to eliminate the drawbacks of the family business and make it easier for workers to freely air their views regardless of age or position.

My ideas on how to manage our inn date back to the days when I played hockey. During a game, things often don’t go according to your team’s strategy. Then each player must make their own decision on how to act. The situation is similar at an inn. There are many occasions where the staff of an inn must make their own decisions as they deal with guests every day. I want to improve the morale at our inn by having our employees use their judgement instead of being told what to do by a manager. I want my staff to freely discuss their observations and ideas. The senior manager will make the ultimate decision, but peer-to-peer discussions are indispensable to provide the manager with relevant facts.

We have set ourselves three numerical goals for profits, customer satisfaction and environmental adaptation. We run about 32 facilities, but not one of them has met all three numerical targets so I think there is still a long way for us to go. We aim to improve the way we operate and hone our know-how to realize our vision as soon as possible.

Company Profile

Hoshino Resort Co.
Management of resorts and hot-spring inns