What Is It Like Working in a Hotel in Japan?
Here's everything you need to know about the accommodation industry in Japan.
Japan is one of the leaders of the game when it comes to hospitality, especially in the accommodation industry. The details that go into their customer care is world-class, and they are known for it.
It is more than just a sophisticated and luxurious environment with stylish uniforms that involve catering to high profile guests. In Japan, hospitality is all about offering the best service, called omotenashi in Japanese, which is one of the Japanese important cultures.
So what is it like working in a hotel in Japan? The accommodation industry is one of the industrial fields in which specified skilled foreign workers can be accepted. Japan has been accepting workers in 14 industrial fields to make up for its severe labor shortage. In this article, we will cover topics like the job description, work environment, skill requirements, job prospects, and, of course, the salary.
What do hotel employees do?
Like anywhere in the world, the main departments of hotels in Japan are Front Office Department, Housekeeping Department, and Food and Beverage Service Department—Front Office Department is responsible for reception. Housekeeping Department is in charge of guestroom cleaning. Food and Beverage Service Department is in charge of food and drink service. Each of the departments has different roles.
Receptionists at the front desk are the face of a hotel. You can also find other staff in the lobby, such as the guest relations who welcomes guests at the entrance, the porter who guides guests to their rooms, and the concierge who provides information on transportation, sightseeing, and dining-out experiences. In the restaurant and bar, waiters, waitresses, and bartenders serve you food and beverages. In the corridor, sometimes you can see a housekeeper with a housekeeping cart full of goodies.
There are also a lot of jobs that remain unseen by guests. For example, the operator who responds to booking reservations in the reservation center. A salesperson who sells hotel rooms. Marketing staff who plans and coordinates promotional activities. Public relation staff who uses a wide range of media to build a good image for the hotel and plans publicity campaigns. All of these are typical jobs in hotels.
Recently, there is a tendency in the hotel industry that the staff are supposed to be generalists, performing a wide variety of tasks to deal with the labor shortage in Japan. In some minimalist hotels, receptionists are asked to help make beds sometimes when housekeepers are insufficient.
For specified skilled workers who are qualified to engage in providing accommodation services, they are allowed to do jobs such as working at the front desk, planning/public relations, hospitality, restaurant services.
In the hotel industry, it goes without saying that employees work inside the hotel. However, in most luxury hotels, staff such as bellmen, and security guards stand outside. The standard hours of work are eight hours per day. However, since hotels are generally open 24 hours a day, it is normal to work in shifts, which include working on weekends and holidays as well.
This data shows the average monthly working hours per employee. Although it also includes food and services, we can see that the average working hours for the accommodation industry is lower than the average of all industries.
There is no particular necessary qualification for a person to work in a hotel. However, for the specified skilled workers, passing the skills test is required, and a certain level of Japanese proficiency would be required.
Your income varies depending on your gender and age. Average annual income is around ¥2,000,000 to ¥3,000,000. Certainly, you are likely to get a higher salary if you gain more experience and skills, or be promoted to a higher position.
One thing to remember is that in Japan, you don’t expect a tip no matter how excellent your service is.
With the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games and growing inbound tourism, the number of hotels continues to increase. In turn, a shortage of hotel staff has been a prevalent issue. With communication being a required skill for guest relations, finding workers from only within Japan is difficult, which is why multilingual workers are in much demand. This would provide many job opportunities for foreign workers all over the world.
Photos from Karaksa Hotel Premier Tokyo Ginza.
(23 August 2019)