Though the economy in the doldrums, funds investing in love hotels are continuing to perform very well, writes Friday (Dec. 11).
Initia Star is one such company that invests in lodges intended for short amorous encounters by couples and distributes dividends to investors semi-annually. Offering shares at an initial investment of 500,000 yen (locked in for three years), the firm’s s Neo Hope fund series targets a return of between five and eight percent per year.
In light of the current economic challenges, recently exemplified by the “Lehman shock,” stock market journalist Genichi Amami explains that love hotel investments offer an attractive alternative since the establishments are already in place and the business is steady. “There is no concern about how the stock market performs,” he says. “Plus the occupancy rates are very high.”
A typical city hotel will typically sell a single room to one customer on one particular day, explains the article. But a love hotel, usually gaudy, theme-oriented establishments offering stays of a few hours for between 5,000 and 8,000 yen, allows for multiple uses of a room within a 24-hour period, a fact that results in the high rate of occupancy.
Hotel operator Comuei believes that the lodges are increasingly becoming a place for recreation and relaxation. “The interior designs could be Japanese or Asian styles with various amenities to make the setting romantic,” says Takeshi Ogihara, director of sales. “So we can compete with the service of regular hotels.”
Young couples, husbands and wives and even the elderly are out trying to have different experiences, believes the director. “So even though this is a time of recession, the clientele range is expanding,” he says.
Friday adds that carnivorous women (i.e. ladies who are a bit aggressive) are also having an impact on the market. In Tokyo’s Uguisudani district, Comuei runs hotel P-Door, whose 23 rooms are booked by salarymen each day but consciously designed for female tastes. (The only elaboration on this latter point is the photo of the brick-walled fountain shown at the entry.)
Ogihara says that the negative stigma associated with the business, too, is changing somewhat. “Traditionally speaking, people have wanted to get into a room without being seen,” says the director, whose P-Door establishment boasts a daily occupancy rate of 600 percent and monthly sales of 20 million yen. “But nowadays, the couples in the waiting room engage in conversation. Some will even bring souvenirs for the staff working at the reception desk.”
Business at Hotel Trinity, also a Comuei property in Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture, is not as brisk, averaging an occupancy rate of 400 percent over its 30 rooms and collecting eighteen million yen in receipts each month. The company is presently attempting to cut personnel costs in order to boost profit.
“Before we purchase a hotel conducted a study on who are the targeted customers,” explains Ogihara of the company’s strategy. “For example, in thinking of Uguisudani, it is salarymen. If it is Kawagoe, it is young couples. We will then accommodate those demographics.”
For Trinity, that means outfitting rooms with an automatic sex chair, which is a contraption comprised of two seats pointed at one another. The article also includes photos of other hotels offering rooms equipped with cosplay wear and volcanic rock spas and the opportunity for guests to keep bottles of alcohol on reserve for future visits.
Since legal regulations on operating a hotel are strict and large investment companies are shying away from the industry given its shady reputation, these investment funds are the only way to enter the market at this point, says Friday. (K.N.)
Source: “‘Rabu hoteru fando’ tsuyosa no himitsu ni semaru!” Friday (Dec. 11, pages 88-89)
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