At Flywire, we have the opportunity to work with incredible clients in the travel industry. These are uncertain times for the world, but their resilience, innovation, and adaptability inspires us every day. We urge you to rebook your travel, instead of canceling your trip. Your continued commitment to the travel and tourism industry will help support countless people and communities, and ensure that when the world recovers, these operations still exist for you to enjoy. #postponedontcancel
Client Spotlight: Holiday Niseko
Holiday Niseko provides accommodations and ski and snowboarding packages for any budget - from a value studio for two all that way up to multi-million dollar chalets. The Niseko United area attracts skiers and snowboarders from all over the world every year, and the Holiday Niseko team are experts in the best the area has to offer.
(They also offer a variety of summer experiences to help guests enjoy Niseko year-round.)
We talked to Joel Westcot, Sales & Marketing Manager, about what makes Holiday Niseko so special, and how they are responding to the COVID-19 restrictions on travel.
What makes Holiday Niseko unique in the space?
Holiday Niseko is unique in the fact that it is not only a property management company but also a travel agent. This means we not only book the properties we manage; we also provide our customers with a greater range of options by booking non-managed chalets, apartments, and hotels. Our own portfolio's strength is in midrange to luxury stand-alone homes and condominium buildings located in the Hirafu Village and immediate surroundings.
Our company's strength is driven by local knowledge and extensive experience. Holiday Niseko has had a year-round team based here in Hirafu, Niseko, for over a decade. This experience has allowed us to continuously tailor offerings to satisfy guests' expectations from our first contact with them to the time they check out.
What’s the best feedback you’ve heard from your guests?
We encourage any feedback from our guests, be it critical, constructive, or of course, a simply glowing review. All feedback allows us to consider our actions and act accordingly by once again tailoring our offerings and operations to suit the needs of our guests. I'm happy to say that our reviews such as the one below are usually so good we couldn't write them more positively ourselves!
Such a great location and space. Perfect for our 2 families, an easy walk to restaurants and lifts. A street away from the Hirafu shuttle. Great open plan layout of the kitchen, living and dining, large bedrooms and luxury bathrooms. This place has it all. Will be back next year for sure!
How many guests do you typically see every year?
Approximately 10,000 per year.
Why did you get into the travel industry?
Purely due to demand. Holiday Niseko grew from humble roots with a small portfolio of mostly budget accommodations. We now manage a complete range of properties from value-oriented apartments to multi-million dollar ski chalets. Holiday Niseko has also built and acquired a number of our own properties, as well as assisting in the development of others. Our experience as an accommodation provider has proved invaluable in designing and developing properties for the short term rental market.
Are you working on any new initiatives to attract and retain customers?
To try and combat the uncertainty that the situation has brought, we have implemented a more relaxed refund policy. This policy means that for any new bookings made for winter 2020/21, guests can cancel free of charge until July 1st. Previously the 20% deposit we required to secure bookings was nonrefundable from the time of payment. We hope that the July 1st cut off will give our customers enough time to assess the situation as it unfolds, and if they are concerned with where it looks to be heading, they can cancel worry-free at any time.
We see this as an ideal way to encourage bookings by allowing guests extra flexibility
through the booking process and by helping to ease any apprehensions they may have. This is an initiative that has also been adopted by a number of other suppliers in the area, which means as a travel agent booking other companies, we can offer the same flexibility and an increased range of accommodation options to our customers.
In addition to our flexible cancellation initiative, we have also increased the scope of our special early bird deals and see the two campaigns complementing each other effectively. We are currently offering some fantastic deals and are looking forward to rewarding both future and returning customers with these.
Running in conjunction with these campaigns is our ongoing social media strategy that focuses on showcasing what the area has to offer and encouraging interaction with everyone that shares a passion for Niseko; it's incredible snow, food, and of course, skiing and snowboarding.
What has been your communication with guests that have booked for the next few months?
Our guests usually book through a range of platforms, including many of the currently popular OTAs and instantly via our website. Many guests booking for next winter have tended to contact us directly, preferring a more personalized service and an opportunity to clarify their options in light of the current situation.
Are there any silver linings to this situation or projects you are working on that you haven’t had time for in the past?
With a slow down in bookings, it has been an excellent opportunity to evaluate all aspects of the business and also to investigate possible alternate revenue streams..
Once the world returns to normal, what are you most looking forward to?
In a word, travel!
If you’d like to learn more about Holiday Niseko, book your post-pandemic travel, or get lost on a virtual escape, please explore https://holidayniseko.com/