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A new Setting Journals feature, "Answers to Questions asked of a Resort - Part 1 of 2", has been put online.

 

Back in spring, ARAI resort kindly agreed to answer questions sent in directly by Snow Japan readers. Many questions were sent in to the resort, and they have been busy preparing answers to over 20 of the most popular. This feature is the first part of those answers, with the remaining due to be published before the end of September.

 

http://www.snowjapan.com/e/features/setting-journals-12.html

 

"It has taken time to answer the questions posed by SnowJapan.Com readers earlier this year, and some were especially tough. Most of the answers to the queries forwarded by SJ to ARAI could cover many volumes of the setting journals. Given this, the first eleven answers follow below, and the latter half are due to come online next month. I will do my best to incorporate any feedback on the forum thread linked to this volume into the second part of this two-part series."

 

http://www.snowjapan.com/e/features/setting-journals-12.html

 

Snow Japan wishes to thank the management at the resort who took the time and effort to make this feature possible, and of course all the readers who sent in questions in the first place - we hope your question gets answered!

 

Please note that the views expressed in any Features on Snow Japan are not necessarily those of Snow Japan.

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Good stuff Blair! You must have had a hard time sifting through lots of questions, but the ones you chose give a good picture of the issues.

 

A couple of observations;

 

If people sleeping in their own cars with the engines running is a hazard to them, why not stop it? If it's within Arai's boundaries, it ought to be possible just to ban it, and if outside the boundaries, surely Arai could promote local ordinances against it. Besides safety, it would also be environmentally responsible, and a further point of leadership.

 

In marketing, it's a truism that 'all the staff are responsible for marketing'. Maruta-san probably needs to spend a little time reflecting on why different people go to resorts.

 

Once again, nice work Blair. Thanks.

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Hi Ocean11

 

Thanks for the observations - hope that your summer has been going well.

 

ARAI does limit overnight parking to one lot (historically this has been the P1 parking lot), and such a limitation has enabled ARAI to more closely monitor those cars that arrive during the night/early morning.

 

While ARAI discourages overnight camping in the

parking lots, Hotel Guests also arrive at the resort via the one access road in the middle of the night, and we need to be able to accommodate them.

 

Accepting vehicles that arrive a few hours before the slopes open , and overnight campers are two seperate issues. Both require customized approaches.

 

You may be right about Maruta-san needing to reflect more on the marketing of ARAI. The interview we went through was tough.

 

In my experience, though Japanese workers are loyal, pragmatism regarding the big picture (outside their immediate scope)can sometimes be lacking. Would you agree that since Maruta-san was exposed to the questions from the SJ readers - and had to answer them - he may just begin to think more about marketing from now on?

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:rolleyes: That would be good.

 

That is a nice read there Blair and great to see a resort putting so much effort into things.

 

Here's hoping you cover my question in the next installemtn.

 

PS 1 more quick question....why do you always use capitals (ARAI) instead of (Arai)?

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Thanks for that, really cool for you to do it.

 

I just saw your new website as well - very nice.

 

But I saw on your news page that "the main resort at ARAI will close from September 1 through December 3" eek.gif - so you'll be basically closed for all of fall months? Is that an annual thing that the resort does?

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 Quote:
Originally posted by Blair:
Would you agree that since Maruta-san was exposed to the questions from the SJ readers - and had to answer them - he may just begin to think more about marketing from now on?
I would indeed.

From what I've seen of many other resorts (not all), some would rather cut a finger off than engage in dialogue. It's good that Maruta-san took part.
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thanks for answering some tough questions.

I still think that if you plan it right you can offer some cheapish places to stay. getting people to spend money after the day is over is a big revenue boost. I know this is japan and the apres scene sucks but it could by a bussiness that could by created if you do it the right way.

 

The japanese salary man loves to drink so there is some Potential to create something new.

 

looking forward to the second part.

 

heres a major player in canada that understands the to market for the future you have to offer something for the young ones. http://www.biglines.com/?do=readmore&id=930&PHPSESSID=a4ffccf0150be11df167c1cfab834217

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Wow! A chance for discussion in the On-Topic forum!

 

We would all really love it if there was a way to stay at Arai on a budget...but it really doesn't look like it is going to happen anytime soon. We* want a cheap place to stay, but we are apparently the minority and with Arai, it all appears to come down to the bottom line. Pleasing the people willing to spend the money will be more lucrative. Unfortunately, while some operations try to at least appease the people that aren't in the majority (maybe just to thank them for their patronage), Arai seems to give those people the big fat finger.

 

Can anyone think of a solid economic reason to appease the powder junkies that don't want to spend ni man en a night? Then maybe they would listen.

 

Anyway, I have only been to Arai a few times, but I was always really happy with the terrain. There are a number of questions regarding opening more terrain. Where would you propose?

 

* "we" being the people that want a cheap place to stay

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 Quote:
We would all really love it if there was a way to stay at Arai on a budget...but it really doesn't look like it is going to happen anytime soon. We* want a cheap place to stay, but we are apparently the minority and with Arai, it all appears to come down to the bottom line. Pleasing the people willing to spend the money will be more lucrative. Unfortunately, while some operations try to at least appease the people that aren't in the majority (maybe just to thank them for their patronage), Arai seems to give those people the big fat finger.
Oh, it's all so simple isn't it? This isn't meant as an attack but I must say that your response really does come across as just stroppy (and slightly naive) there, sorry to say. ;\)

Some people might be crying out for budget accommodation, yes. But some aren't. Maybe the majority as you mention here. But are people who want luxury accommodation actually the majority? I would say not.

What do you want them to do, open up an operation where they bleed cash? If you were a business, would you do that? No, I don't think so.... All businesses have to keep and eye on the bottom line, especially when the market is depressed. But Arai have shown an interest in readers of this forum, which is more than any other resort - and obviously put lots of time into responding.

In the article the manager says...

 Quote:
ARAI realized early on that it could not afford to open up "budget accommodation" within the resort boundaries.
It might be good to hear an expanded version of that with some reasons - but as it is we didn't get any.

To sum up I just think you're being a bit harsh and idealistic without knowing too much about the reality of it all.

\:\)
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Idealistic? I think I am just being realistic? I am saying that we want budget accomodation, but we aren't going to get it. I even say that if someone has an idea of a way to go about making low cost accomodation (or dining for that matter) an attractive economic venture for Arai, it will surely go further to catch their attention than just wishing for it here.

 

Applaud Arai all you want for answering these questions...but I am surely not hearing anything new.

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In case I didn't make myself clear (or to offend any of you hyper-sensitive types). The point that that I think is being made loud and clear is that Arai has a set economic plan and not only are they not willing to do anything outside of that scope...they aren't even willing to consider any suggestions made by anyone that isn't a paid expert.

 

I don't know why some people on here get so bent out of shape any time someone presents a non conformist attitude. Don't take it personally please, I just am not as quick to jump on the bandwagon it would seem.

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All you seem to be saying is that you really want budget accommodation and that you think it would be a great idea.

 

I can't see how you can be particularly 'realistic' when you know next to nothing of the overall situation, the budgets, the costs, the marketing strategies, the laws, etc that undoubtedly surround the issue.

 

It seems to me from what is written in the article that Arai looked into this but decided - for whatever reason - that it was not feasible.

 

But like I said, it might be nice to hear the reasons for that expanded on a bit more. Blair? ;\) It would be good to know if they have taken numberous looks at the idea in recent years and still decided that it was not something they can do.

 

I do applaud the resort for doing this, yes. And I really hope that people who might feel like just bringing them down will not discourage them from doing more of this kind of thing in the future. That would be a pity.

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 Quote:
I don't know why some people on here get so bent out of shape any time someone presents a non conformist attitude. Don't take it personally please, I just am not as quick to jump on the bandwagon it would seem.
Who would that be then?? I am just interested in this topic, put smileys in the posts, interested in a discussion on the matter, and in no way getting bent out of shape! It seems that those "some people on here" are someone else!

 Quote:
is that Arai has a set economic plan and not only are they not willing to do anything outside of that scope...they aren't even willing to consider any suggestions made by anyone that isn't a paid expert.
Sorry, but where on earth is that coming from??? eek.gif That really is just silly, and hardly worth a response :p ;\)
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That wasn't meant as an attak on you IIIII, but you do seem to have a problem with what I am saying. More of a pre-emptive claim to others that I do acknowledge what I am saying may offend some people on here (as I have seen it before) and that I don't think it should be taken that way.

 

As for your second comment...what do you not understand? Every time a suggestion is addressed to Arai, the response is the same. "We have already looked into that, but it isn't economically feasible." Look at the article:

 

Q1: Will ARAI open more terrain in the mid level range?

A: Sorry, not economically feasible.

"Further development means more grooming and patrol, which each in turn require significant expenditure to support."

 

Q5:Why does the resort not open up more terrain?

A: Sorry, not economically feasible (and safety).

"to stay in business a mountain needs to cater mainly to the largest paying demographic, and place their needs first"

 

Q8: Why don't you offer reasonably priced accommodation?

A: Sorry, not economically feasible.

"ARAI realized early on that it could not afford to open up “budget accommodation” within the resort boundaries"

 

I have been hearing the same thing for months (remember the why aren't you open debate?). I am not surprised. All I am saying is it is nothing new.

 

Was I misunderstanding your question there dude?

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point in case that it does pay to attract the penny pinchers...the Whistler model.

 

A little known fact about the ski industry, you make your money off the hill and not on it. the hill is just what draws people there so they can spend their money everywhere else. money for food, money for beer, money for a movie, money for a taxi/bus, money for rentals, or repairs on those busted boards. money on everything.

 

but the thing is that not everyone has money. especially those that will make the place what it is. the dudes (and dudette's) pushing the envelope and really nailing the terrain. when Whistler/Blackcomb built their village they built it so it would attract everyone. you have the high high end for the posh fur coated bogner suits and you have the low low end for the duck tape park rats and air heads. the village is accesible for everyone and it is because of this that the place took off...how years in a ROW was it the #1 resort in n/america. the reason for this is that the penny pinchers were able to enjoy it. as a result the place became the epicenter for everything cool within the sport. and whistler did nothing but try to entice it. they cater to this group just as much as they cater to the folks with coing. the beauty of it is that the dudes wiht coin also have a family. their kids are reading the "in" mags (not the mags that their fathers are reading mind you)and they can see that the place rocks and they could get their shiat off. so they convince their parents to go there...cuz after all there is something for everyone. the parents can do their thing and the kids can do their own.

 

when you look at it, it is quite brialliant how whistler/blackcomb have done. and continue to do it. and it is for that reason that i will always go back there.

 

so in the end, focus your money on everyone and it will pay off.

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Nice to see some input, I'll answer a few items here.

 

rachael:

 

ARAI is spelt in capital letters because that is how our corporate brand manual specifies that it must be done.

 

kobet:

 

Yes,

 

the resort will close through December the third. To make things clear, ARAI gets a significant amount of visitors during the Japanese school holidays in summer, but fewer in the shoulder periods. In my mind this is a pity,

as ARAI is very beautiful in the fall with Autumn colors, nice weather etc.

 

The decision to close during the Autumn was made during the peak of the SARS crisis and stock market " hiccup" this past spring.

 

Hopefully next year ARAI will remain open in the autumn.

 

We are keeping our plateau facility, Itakura Family Park, open in September & October. Pargaliding facilities will also be offered at the main resort daily through November 9th.

 

enderzero:

 

Please take a look at the following text I've just copied from the article online that we're discussing:

 

=================================================

 

Though ARAI welcomes the powder-chasers described in the question, we do ask two things of them:

 

1 To respect the boundary lines established by ARAI for their own safety as well as others on the hill; &

2 Given that ARAI receives significant amounts of powder within short periods of time, sleeping in cars at the resort is to be discouraged (we are sincerely concerned that visitors sleeping in vehicles with running engines may asphyxiate themselves slowly overnight).

 

Budget accommodation is available at the borders of ARAI (Yurarikan - Japanese style Pension complete with real Japanese Onsen) or 5 km away at the station front highway stop (Super Hotel - check in using a vending machine). There is also budget accommodation available throughout the Joetsu area.

 

=================================================

 

This is the President and Chief Operating Officer of ARAI, in my own opinion, not only welcoming the low-budget powder-chasers,

but showing concern for their well being by recommending nearby budget accommodation that is safe and clean. When reviewing the history of ARAI, I understand that such a statement is unprecedented.

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All very interesting indeed, of course!

 

But I really do think you're twisting the facts around there a bit, enderzero, and making assumptions just to suit one of your current arguments.

 

It's as if you're saying that you don't think a resort business should be allowed to NOT make certain business decisions - that you as a customer think should be made - for the reason that they are deemed not economically feasible!

 

You can just imagine the marketing meetings..... "Hey, folks, times are really tight right now with us losing money and all the rest, but let's just plough that money we don't have into these new, economically infeasible services!" lol.gif

 

Anyway, deep down I actually agree with you on actually wanting lower cost accommodation there.- I would like that too.

 

But that in itself doesn't mean that they're giving the big fat finger to everyone.

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Blair, Yeah I did read the article. Are you serious? Here is your response - if you don't want to pay to stay in our hotel 1) don't break the rules on the hill (because the ones of you without money are surely more likely to). 2) We don't want you to sleep in your car, but if you do, please don't kill yourself. And 3)BTW in the entire city here we admit there are other places that are more reasonably priced (hey they can afford to do it even if we can't).

 

All right, all right. I am diggin my self in here deeper than I probably want to be. I am just so disillusioned by whatever this SJ-Arai thing is. Like Arai has an english speaker on there staff and it is cool he writes articles here or whatever. Anyway, I don't have a point here. I have problems with other resorts too (hey most places never let us go out bounds and kick people out on perfectly safe days...remember that debate?) IIIII, you seem to think I am trying to get Arai to open low budget accom. with all this hot under the collar BS. Naaaa, I know nothing is gonna change. I guess i was just kinda trying to point that out.

 

Anyway, I don't think anyone shoudl get uptight about this stuff so I am just gonna chill.

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 Quote:
Here is your response - if you don't want to pay to stay in our hotel 1) don't break the rules on the hill (because the ones of you without money are surely more likely to). 2) We don't want you to sleep in your car, but if you do, please don't kill yourself. And 3)BTW in the entire city here we admit there are other places that are more reasonably priced (hey they can afford to do it even if we can't).
lol.gif

Is there a nice flat section of snow over there in winter where we can pitch a tent ;\)
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