Lotte Arai is a Japanese ski resort located around two hours by bullet train from Tokyo. Whilst it doesn’t enjoy the renown of the more-frequented Niseko, it has the benefits of the deepest powder in Japan (an average of 18 metres of annual snowfall), an English-speaking ski school, easy accessibility from Australia and less of the queues.
Additionally, the resort offers a level of luxury not usually seen in Japan.
“Like some of Hokkaido’s luxury ski resorts, we offer global hotel brand services which is very rare in mainland Japan,” says Tomo Yasuda, Marketing Manager for Lotte Arai. “Also, our terrain management is different than other ski resorts in Japan. We do daily avalanche control in order to open as much terrain as possible. Thus 84% of skiable terrain is off-piste.”
“Niseko and Hakuba are the two hot spots for Australian skiers, they all want to experience the Japan powder that is some of the lightest and most consistent snow in the world,” adds Aaron Corbett, the Partnerships and Contracting Manager who worked closely with Lotte Arai to execute the deal. “When I came to learn about the area of Myoko and the Lotte Arai Resort, I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of it and it was virtually unknown to Australians. It ticked all the boxes - easily accessible, an abundance of snow with over 18m a season, terrain catering to all abilities and a beautiful luxurious resort.”
With an established market in Asia, the task at hand was how Lotte Arai could get the word out to the untapped and profitable Australian market.
“From my perspective, the timing was perfect to appeal to Luxury Escapes customers,” observes Tomo. “Many Australian skiers have visited Japan – especially Niseko – for over a decade, but these people are mostly expert skiers and powder enthusiasts who regularly ski in Japan and book through tour operators or OTAs.
Skiing in Japan has become very popular today among non-expert skiers or even non-skiers in Australia. Everyone already knows that Niseko and other Hokkaido resorts are too popular and too expensive now, while other ski resorts in the mainland Japan such as Hakuba and Nozawa are not easy to stay and relax. We needed to reach a new market who are not regular skiers, and we needed to show how our resort is attractive in ways that other Japanese resorts are not.”
“We carefully tailored the inclusions according to what works well for the Australian market,” explains Aaron. “For families, two-bed rooms are always popular, and we added bonus inclusions such as rock-climbing and trampolining for the kids.”
Inclusions such as two hours’ access to the Lotte Arai Playground and two-day lift passes encourage upselling to customers whilst at the resort, who are likely to invest in further ski passes and activity access on the ground.
“We structured the offer perfectly and used our marketing assets to educate the Australian public on ‘why’ would you travel to this region,” says Aaron.
Deal content was focused on removing barriers to purchase for first-time skiers who needed that extra push to commit. You can read more about how Luxury Escapes positions ski escapes here.
Noticing the incredible success of the campaign, the Luxury Escapes team responded swiftly to add a fourth room category to the deal – a ‘Deluxe Family Twin’ – to capitalize on demand and optimize room nights for the resort.
“It was apparent in the early stages of the campaign that the larger upgraded rooms were in high demand,” explains Aaron. “There was a large number of comments on our social media posts referencing taking the family and kids to the Lotte Arai. We decided to add another family room type to the offer. The outcome was successful, we were able to generate over 500 room nights to the newly introduced family room upgrade.”
“The campaign was a great success and now there are three hot spots for Australian skiers within Japan - Niseko, Hakuba and Myoko,” says Aaron.