Case Studies of Business Recovery in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, 2019-2020

Accept both disaster victims from the Tohoku coastal area as well as various support teamsBesides accepting a total of 16,000 disaster evacuees, the hotel was opened as a base for numerous disaster-affected area support groups that include the police and Self-Defense Force as well as electric power-related personnel, construction workers, and volunteers.Hanamaki Onsen Co., Ltd.01Taking in victims and support teams in becoming an impor-tant base for reconstructionFounded in 1927 amid an abundance of surrounding nature in Hanamaki Onsen-kyo, Hanamaki Onsen Co., Ltd. has devel-oped into a resort hotel that represents northern Tohoku. It currently operates three hotels, namely Hotel SENSHUKAKU, Hotel HANAMAKI, and Hotel KOYOKAN, as well as KASHOEN, a hot-spring ryokan that serves the Imperial Family, including the Emperors of each era. Hanamaki Onsen currently welcomes numerous tourists from Japan and abroad.This idyllic hot-spring village was jolted by the Great East Japan Earthquake. When the earthquake struck there was a total of 279 guests at the company’s four hotels. Despite being terrified by unprec-edented shaking, the staff remained calm and provided evacuation guidance to guests. Moreover, staff also led 135 guests unable to return home to KASHOEN, which suffered little damage, and provided guests with updated infor-mation and distributed food.Five days after the earthquake, the last remaining guest was escorted to Akita Airport, meaning that all guests at the hotel when the disaster struck finally returned home safely. Managing Director Sasaki Yutaka, who was in command, recalls that “Although we were silent, our eyes welled with tears.”Despite safely sending off the last guest, the emergency response contin-ued. The company received successive requests from the prefecture and cities to accept both disaster victims from the Tohoku coastal area as well as various support teams. However, at the same time all bookings for over 46,000 guests up to June were cancelled and employees were unavoidably fur-loughed. Even amid these trying circum-stances, the company was driven by a single-minded desire to “be a source of strength to victims at any rate” and is thus fulfilling a crucial function as a base for reconstruction and recovery by accept-ing support teams as much as possible regardless of its own profits and losses. Initially, about 20 senior executives were mobilized each day to respond to the situation. However, regular employees gradually returned to their jobs and in July all employees returned without a single person absent. Employees returning to their workplace developed close bonds with the victims staying at the facilities. There were even some employees who remained with victims throughout an entire night. One of these employees, Hirasawa Kentaro, Chief of the Sales Planning Section, Sales Department, looks back and says, “I wasn’t able to do anything for the victims. All I could do was listen to their stories.” How-ever, this response is probably what soothed the hearts of the victims.Continuing what resort hotels should do in times of disasterAdditionally, as a disaster-affected area support program, the company dis-patched a bus to the coastal area and provided free hot spring bathing and meals to persons living in evacuation shelters. Evacuees were also met by buses and transported to supermarkets and department stores and over 60 volunteer groups were invited to provide entertainment for persons sheltered at the hotels as part of efforts to care for victims.Sasaki says, “Looking at the condition of the evacuees made me naturally want to do something to help them” as he explains why he continued providing services that went beyond anything requested by anyone even though some facilities in the region refused to accept victims at that time. This desire to help is probably derived from the deeply in-grained spirit of hospitality as a member 2030●Feb.: Builded on-premises “Maison Hanamaki” bachelor’s apartment. ●Apr.: Opened on-premises “Onsen Bakery.”20193,0005,00002,0001,0004,0002011●Mar.: Provided free-of-charge hot spring bathing and meals for evacuees and supporters.4,3162012●Mar.: Established Iwate Hanamaki Travel Agency.4,6212013●Apr.: Renovated the 5th floor of Hotel KOYOKAN.4,3732014●Oct.: Introduced T-point card system.4,3302015●Jan.: Opened “Snowpark.” ●Apr.: Introduced projection mapping at Hotel HANAMAKI.4,5052016●Mar.: Completed seismic reinforcement work.●Sep. – Oct.: “Kibo-kyo Iwate National Sports Festival / Kibo-kyo Iwate National Sports Festival for Disabled4,4102017●Mar.: Renovated portions of large public baths at three hotels.●Nov.: Marked 90th anniversary of Hanamaki Onsen Co., Ltd.4,127●Mar.: “Hanamaki Onsen former Shounkaku Annex” registered as a Tangible Cultural Property.●Dec.: Opened on-premises Tsuruha Drug Hanamaki Onsen Store.20184,077Strides toward recoveryTrends in net sales (million yen)April–March of following year[SDGs] Toward 2030Strengthen the three management resources of people, goods and money and improve the treatment of employees while preserving win-win relationships with regional compa-nies that support tourism and grow together.Aiming to head further beyond the 100th anniversary, and collaborate and grow together with various companies.E3

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