As the Kiroro, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Hokkaido, walks away with a prestigious prize at the World Ski Awards, Breaking Travel News catches up with the vice president, Martin Raich, to find out more
Breaking Travel News: Congratulations on your victory at the World Ski Awards, with the Kiroro, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Hokkaido, having been honoured with the title of Japan’s Best Ski Hotel. How does it feel to have won?
Martin Raich: We are so proud and honoured to win the prestigious Japan’s Best Ski Hotel award for the first time, especially after many years being nominated and finishing runner up.
Indeed, this year has been tough for everyone in the hospitality and tourism industry, so to win under these circumstances is extra special and is well deserved recognition for all our associates who have carried on providing unwavering excellence throughout the year.
This award would not be achieved without out the dedicated work of our associates, partners and suppliers.
I am very proud of everyone’s commitment to help the Kiroro, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Hokkaido, make it onto this stage.
BTN: How useful are the World Ski Awards when it comes to promoting the property to a global ski tourism market?
MR: Needless to say, the World Ski Awards symbolise the gold standard in ski tourism.
They serve as the benchmark of excellence and drive standards across the industry.
Ski tourism has grown global in recent years so competition for World Ski Awards is high.
So to take home a prize is certainly newsworthy and very useful for promoting our property and resort.
The award highlights that our property and service are of the highest quality, which I believe gives peace of mind to customers when they consider booking with us.
Winning the best domestic hotel award in an international award show means we can use the win for promotion in both domestic and international markets, too.
BTN: Can you tell our readers a little about the property – what is it that caught the eye of voters?
MR: There are a lot of fantastic reasons we took out the award.
The Kiroro, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Hokkaido, can cater to the needs of any type of holiday-making group.
We are equally attractive to families, couples and groups who desire the facilities and style of a luxurious all season boutique resort with ski-in, ski-out access to the best slopes in Hokkaido’s iconic ski destination.
From a wider resort perspective, the Tribute is one of three world-class ski-in ski-out hotels here in Kiroro Resort, alongside the Sheraton Hokkaido and Yu Kiroro.
With two high-speed gondolas, eight chairlifts and a backcountry system among the largest and most powder-ful in Japan, Kiroro Resort is quickly becoming recognised as Hokkaido’s premier powder ski destination.
We are a multi-generation, truly family-friendly destination.
Kids can enjoy lessons in our ski schools while parents and grandparents can tackle our incredible pisted and ungroomed ski fields for days on end.
There is something for everybody in Kiroro.
We understand the importance of apres-ski life for ski lovers.
Our wide range of dining options for guests include authentic Japanese restaurants to charcoal barbecue, Italian cuisine to steakhouses.
In total, there are total 21 dining options this season, our guests can never get bored of food here and often the dining experiences is as much a highlight as the skiing!
We also have a large swimming pool, gymnasium and a first-class Onsen (natural hot spring).
Our location is also very convenient to get to popular sightseeing spots.
It takes about 60 mins to Sapporo, and 40 mins to Otaru by driving, so guests can travel easily with their own car or using our shuttle bus services to make the most of Hokkaido.
BTN: How would you describe the mood in Japanese ski tourism as we head into 2021? Has news of a Covid-19 vaccine lifted spirits?
MR: Despite a year of great uncertainty, we are optimistic that the market will bounce back once the vaccine is distributed.
While we do not have a like-for-like historical event to compare with the Covid-19 situation, we do know that the season following the Tohoku Earthquake in 2011 was one of the biggest growth seasons for Hokkaido ski tourism.
Its human nature that people want what they cannot have – and international travel has been off the table for a while now.
So there is bound to be pent-up demand.
Skiers and snowboarders are adventurers at heart, and we believe this demographic of people are likely to be amongst the first to travel when they can.
And we have a wonderful product here in Kiroro which we believe people will return to swiftly.
Skiing is an outdoor activity and all skiers where masks anyway, so making it ‘Covid-friendly’ is less of a burden for us than perhaps it is in other destinations.
With that said, we have taken vast measures to ensure Kiroro becomes Covid-safe.
For instance, we have reduced our restaurant seating capacity, implemented social distancing at ski lifts, trained all our staff to be extra diligent with their own hygiene and maintaining cleanliness standards in all shared spaces.
Beyond this, we have implemented government recommended safety standards across all operations.
Find out more about the Kiroro, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel Hokkaido on the official website.