Jim Ivanoff | ivanoff@bcwood.jp

With the Japanese inbound tourism market booming in Japan, BC Wood exhibited at the “Hotel Restaurant Show”, better known as HoteRes, at Tokyo’s Big Sight from February 20th to 23rd. This is the largest show in Japan for the hospitality industry and covers everything for that sector from building products to industrial coffee machines. The show takes up all eight of Big Sights East Halls with over 60,000 attendees coming through over the 4 days.
I usually walk this show every year and have seen the building products section continuously grow along with the number of inbound tourists. However, never having exhibited I wasn’t sure what kind of people I would see coming through the booth. With a simple but attractive booth made up with Western Red Cedar and a variety of members’ samples, I was able to make 135 new contacts. I was very impressed by both the quality of the visitors as well as their interest in wood products.
Surveying the visitors to the BC Wood booth, the largest number were involved with hotel projects. Hotels of course come in all sizes. We had people ranging from owner/operators of B&Bs and traditional Japanese inns (ryokan) to executives of major hotel chains. The next largest group were involved with restaurants and retail. We of course meet a lot of architects and designers who work in retail design but meeting the people from the hotel management/ownership side was a new opportunity for us.
Asking about the products they were interested in, I expected it would be finishing materials, but surprisingly it was log homes. This was a reflection of the number of property owners from resort areas. Many were also interested in learning about building larger facilities in wood, so glulam and other structural materials was the second most popular choice followed by furniture, timber frame homes, then finishing materials.
Overall, this was a great opportunity to make new contacts and promote the BC value-added industry. We will now begin the process of following up with these contacts and developing specific leads for our members.