While in Tokyo last week, I had the unusual honour (for me at least) of staying at three of the city’s finest five-star hotels. All three were incredible, just as I had expected, but it was The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo that stood out among the others. Most hotels in Tokyo — especially the four- and five-star variety — are going to give you amazing service, but the Ritz-Carlton takes it up another notch. In terms of “design” and “presentation” of the brand, and the generation of delight for the guests at all touch points, The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo hits the sweet spot.
What business are you really in?
If you were to ask The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo management what business they are in (and I did) they would say they were not in the hotel business but in the service business. However, I would say that the other hotels also try to be in the service business, and do a pretty good job of it. The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, however, is not just in the service business, they are in the experience business. Tom Peters loves to use this quote from The Experience Economy (recommended): “Experiences are as distinct from services as services are from goods.” The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, then, is in the experiences business and in the emotions business. You’ve got to have the operations right, but it’s really about emotions, delight, and warm memories. Operations alone can be copied, but “high touch” differentiation is nearly impossible to copy.
If you’re travelling to Tokyo for a presentation
The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo clearly gets the concept of “high touch,” but I was surprised that they got the technology part right as well. If you’re travelling to Tokyo for an important presentation, I suggest you stay in the Ritz-Carlton. The rooms and the stunning lobby area on the 45th floor are all wireless and the ability to connect your laptop from the desk in your room to the huge flat panel display is a great convenience for international business travellers. Below I made a low-rez video (with a cheap camera I bought just down the street from the hotel) to show you the connectivity panel on the desk. I also recorded a short presentation in the room to give an idea of how you could use the space to rehearse your presentation.
If I had had more time I would have made the video shorter, cleaner, etc. I also would have positioned the camera closer to the screen. In the video the screen is hard to see, but from anywhere in the room, even small text could be read easily. Perhaps I’ll use my HD camera and proper microphone someday to make something much better for the blog.