See the original story in Japanese.
Kitene is an online car rental platform proposing combined road trip plans. Since its launch back in June, the platform has more than 8,500 cars registered from 240 rental providers. It also deals in a variety of types and grades of cars including campers or convertibles. As one can see from the 1,000 types of travel plans published on its website, the service provides content which meets various users’ demands.
Fukuoka-based Reevo, the company behind the Kitene platform and its sister service Veecle, announced in August that it had agreed to partner with Japan Travel for development of road trips and other related services for foreign visitors to Japan.
Japan Travel runs a major travel information website for foreign tourists called JapanTravel.com, where there are articles about local information proffered by 7,500 foreign residents of Japan, written from the foreigners’ perspective.
According to Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan during the first half of 2015 reached 9.13 million, showing a record high with an increase by 46% over the same period of the previous year. This market is expected to grow further as the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 nears. Under such circumstances, Reevo CEO Ryoma Matsuo spoke of the road trip needs for foreigners using rented cars.
Reevo founder and CEO Ryoma Matsuo says,
I have experienced directly the tendency for increased use of rental car by foreigners, and was also planning to expand services for foreigners. A questionnaire given to car rental companies in association now indicated that more than 60% show interest in rental business intended for foreigners. Furthermore, according to a company among these which is already running a website individually in English, although the ratio of foreign users still remains at 10%, their sales ratio is approximately 50%. They are potentially excellent customers for the car rental business because of their long-term rental each time.
On the other hand, some trouble can be seen upon car rental by foreigners increasingly due to differences in languages, traffic regulations or driving habits. In order to address these issues and demands upon visiting Japan, this partnership was established, expecting collaboration in marketing or proper information distribution for tourists from Japan Travel and service or content needs for road trips using rented cars from Reevo.
Specifically, details of this cooperation include for example, planning road trips from the foreigners’ viewpoint and selling them to travel agents, reservation system for car rentals in multiple languages, multilingual website creation for rental car providers, or providing integrated services between JapanTravel.com and Kitene. As our pilot project, we are planning to commercialize and sell a package of road trips by campers to enjoy the four seasons in Japan within 2015.
Among the rental car services offered by Reevo, content with campers is unique enough that it can offer a new type of travels in Japan for foreign tourists. This may be one of the styles that startups can propose their new business on, featuring their unique content and know-how through cooperation with major companies.
In recent years, since stimulation in the regions and development of local resources have been seen in various parts of Japan, even the Japanese have come to travel around minor domestic areas which are not so popular as sightseeing spots, or to enjoy interaction with local folks. Through expansion of market for visits to Japan, we can also expect that the regional attractions will be rediscovered.
Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy and Masaru Ikeda