Episode 33

Published on:

19th Jun 2023

Creating memorable hotel stay experiences through Kiwi and Japanese omotenashi with Rebecca Thorn

Rebecca Thorn, star General Manager for Hotel Indigo Tokyo Shibuya, shares her experiences in the hotel industry in New Zealand and how she adjusted to the omotenashi of Japanese hospitality. Rebecca emphasizes the importance of immersing oneself in a new culture and how this is helping her as she opens the first Hotel Indigo brand property in Shibuya in August 2023! 

Subscribe to our list so you never miss an episode of Jandals in Japan 

If you enjoyed this episode and it inspired you in some way, we’d love to hear about it and know your biggest takeaway. Head over to Apple Podcasts to leave a review and we’d love it if you would come and say hi (or Kia Ora or Konnichi Wa!) over on @jandalsinjapan on Instagram.

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • Rebecca’s experience in all aspects of the hotel industry during her 25 year international career so far
  • The key differences between the hospitality culture in Japan and New Zealand
  • Is the language barrier really a problem?
  • The importance of immersing yourself in Japanese culture
  • How standing back and observing customers in the hotel lobby and restaurant are key cues to understanding customer-care
  • The creativeness of the “Hotel Indigo” brand bringing the neighborhood into the hotel

About Rebecca

Rebecca Thorn is the General Manager of Hotel Indigo Tokyo Shibuya, now scheduled to open in August 2023.

She has been in the hotel industry for 20 years and with IHG for 17 of those years.

She has experienced several hotels across Asia Pacific in the group in that time.

Rebecca moved to Japan in August of 2019 and absolutely loves working and living in Tokyo. 

Connect with Rebecca

Personal work instagram https://www.instagram.com/rebecca_thorn_/ 

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebecca-thorn-65b49940/ 

Hotel Indigo Tokyo Shibuya website - https://www.ihg.com/hotelindigo/hotels/us/en/shibuyaku/hndsh/hoteldetail


The Culture Map: https://www.amazon.co.jp/Culture-Map-INTL-ED-Decoding/dp/1610392760 

Ryokan Koito: https://koito-inn.co.jp/ 

Bar Hotel: https://www.barhotel.com/ 

Jandals in Japan is brought to you by Catherine O’Connell Law and PodLaunch with Jayne

Connect with Jayne and Catherine

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/company/jandals-in-japan-podcast/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jandalsinjapan/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jandalsinjapan 

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@jandalsinjapan 

Are you loving Jandals in Japan so much you just want to buy Catherine and Jayne a beer/wine/coffee?

We know some people really want to show their appreciation and so now you can using the button below. In addition, you will join our VIJ list for our Very Important Jandals, who receive first invites to our in person events when they happen throughout the year.
Please note, contributions in $ = US$.
Support Jandals in Japan
We haven’t had any Tips yet :( Maybe you could be the first!
Show artwork for Jandals in Japan

About the Podcast

Jandals in Japan
Bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
The best show about New Zealanders doing business in Japan, bringing The Land of the Long White Cloud to The Land of the Rising Sun
How do you build a brand in Japan and nurture a loyal customer base?
What do you need to have in your tool belt if you are thinking of coming to Japan to launch a business here?
Japan is often considered to be in the "too hard" basket but we are here to open up the black box of doing business in Japan.
We will share stories from successful Kiwis selling their products and services here in Japan.
They'll tell you their tips for success and pitfalls to avoid.
They'll share their challenges and what they did to overcome them.
They will tell you things you can't find in textbooks or on the internet.
We will also be sharing the latest intel and insights on Japan from our on-the-ground presence
And you'll hear some super business culture and other tips from us sprinkled throughout.
Grab a glass of sake and let's get into it.
Support This Show

About your hosts

Jayne Nakata

Profile picture for Jayne Nakata
Jayne Nakata is a Southland girl who arrived in Japan in 2002, planning to stay just two years. 20 years later she is still living in Fukushima Prefecture with her Japanese husband and two children. When the triple disaster hit in 2011, Jayne made the commitment to stay in Fukushima and contribute to rebuilding the area. She is the host of the award winning podcast Transformations with Jayne, which is a favourite with international women living in Japan. She is also the double award winning podcast producer and manager for PodLaunch with Jayne.

Catherine O’Connell

Profile picture for Catherine O’Connell
Born and bred in Christchurch, Catherine O'Connell landed in Japan in 2002, on a one year contract, and 20 years later she's planted her feet firmly in Japan. She built a wealth of business and cultural experience working at the coal face of brand-name Japanese corporates as in house legal counsel. Catherine took a leap of faith down the entrepreneurial route launching her own multi award-winning boutique law firm in Tokyo in 2018, being the first Kiwi and first foreign female to do so. She is Vice Chair of the Australian & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan and helps businesses thrive in the Japan market delivering business insights meshed with legal instincts. Catherine is also host of the award-winning Lawyer on Air Podcast.