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Panasonic Newsroom TOPPress ReleaseJTB, Panasonic and Yamato Holdings Announce Commercial Launch of LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL for Foreign Travelers to Japan

Sep 21, 2017

JTB, Panasonic and Yamato Holdings Announce Commercial Launch of LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL for Foreign Travelers to Japan

- This hands-free tourism service gives foreign tourists more freedom to explore Japan -

Tokyo/Osaka - JTB Corporation, Panasonic Corporation and Yamato Holdings Co., Ltd. today announced they have started offering "LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL" (trademark registered) on August 8 outside Japan in the run-up to its service launch early next year in Japan. This service supporting hands-free tourism in Japan is designed to make travel in Japan easier and more enjoyable for travelers from abroad by eliminating the hassle of hauling their luggage around. The three companies work together in offering this service, as Japan expects the number of inbound tourists to reach 40 million by 2020. They also started recruiting agencies to handle this service today.

The commercial launch follows a trial that took place from September 1 to October 31, 2016. Many foreign tourists take time to take bulky luggage by themselves from the airport to their accommodation, which means less time for sightseeing. Tourists moving around with large suitcases, and luggage storage space have also created a challenge for tourist facilities and public transportation operators. With the anticipated increase of inbound tourists to Japan toward 2020, JTB, Panasonic and Yamato Holdings, leading Japanese companies in the field of travel-related services, electronics technologies and solutions, and door-to-door delivery services, respectively, teamed up to solve these problems. The trial and a subsequent survey found that although there were issues with public awareness of the service, it was appreciated highly in the level of satisfaction and efficiency of procedures. The companies now offer the service after boosting its convenience and marketing efforts based on the findings.

On August 8, 2017, JTB has begun offering "LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL" (LFT) through its "Sunrise Tours" package tours for travelers to Japan from abroad. The service provision will start on January 5, 2018.

The three companies have worked hard to realize this hands-free service unique to Japan, with JTB focusing on the "Multicultural Communication Business" for offering excitement and joy through the creation of multicultural exchanges between people, Panasonic on proposal of solutions to realize "lifestyles of the future" in 2020 and beyond, and the Yamato Group on "Let's Enjoy Hands-Free Japan!"

The LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL service is a new platform allowing foreign travelers to Japan to enjoy hands-free tourism with more ease, convenience, and security than before. This is achieved by combining the knowledge, know-how, and technology cultivated by each of the three companies involved. The three firms will ramp up efforts for the January 2018 service launch, and continue their collaboration to expand the delivery area and improve the level of service.

[Overview of LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL service]

This is a nation-wide service supporting hands-free tourism in Japan, so that when foreign visitors to Japan arrive, tour the country, and return home, they can send their large luggage to lodging facilities and airports without the need to write a shipping form in Japanese.

<Outline of service>

  • 1) Purchase LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL through a tour package incorporating the service, which is provided by overseas branches of JTB or sales agents, or by accessing the reservation site for the service through a PC or smartphone.
  • 2) Acquire a QR code at the time of purchase, which serves as a receipt number
  • 3) Present the QR code to the luggage reception staff at the airport counter, lodging facility, or other LFT agents.
  • 4) Scan the QR code into the LFT reception system with support for five languages (Japanese, English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean)
  • 5) Check luggage after confirming the pre-registered delivery information, luggage size, number of pieces, terms of use, and other information on screen together with the staff.
  • 6) Receive the delivered luggage at the designated lodging facility or airport counter.
Schematic diagram of service

<Luggage checking/receiving time>

  Luggage checking Luggage receiving
Delivery from arriving airport to lodging facility Until 11:00 From 18:00 on the same day
Delivery between lodging facilities Until 15:00 From check-in time on following day
Delivery from lodging facility to departing airport Until 15:00 two days before departure From morning of day of departure
  • * Checking and receiving times may vary depending on the handling location.

<Service advantages>

• For travelers visiting Japan
  • 1) Liberates travelers from the bother of luggage, creating pleasant free time, and enabling greater enjoyment of travel within Japan.
  • 2) Eliminates the need to fill out delivery forms by hand, greatly reducing luggage checking time.
  • 3) Travelers can easily apply for the service during their trip from a smartphone or other devices (from January 2018).
• For tourism providers (lodging facilities, etc.)
  • 1) No need for initial adoption expenses such as those for installation of special-purpose terminals.
  • 2) Improved work efficiency due to reduced time spent on luggage receiving work and reduction in temporarily checked luggage, etc.
  • 3) Helps ease staff burden with the multi-language support (English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Japanese).
• For communities
  • 1) Helps improve congestion and safety of public transportation by reducing migration of travelers with large luggage.
  • 2) Contributes to promoting the tourist-friendliness of Japan and its regions, and revitalizing communities with improved mobility of tourists.

[Usage fees]

There are two fee categories for the LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL service, Small and Large, depending on the size and weight of the luggage.

Basic Fees*1 Door to Door Luggage
(lodging facility→
lodging facility)
Flight Luggage
(Between Airport↔
lodging facility)*2
Small: Total of length, width, and height
120cm (15kg) or less
From ¥2,000/one-way (tax not included) *1
Large: Total length, width, and height
160cm (25kg) or less
From ¥2,500/one-way (tax not included) *1
  • *1 There may be additional fees depending on the delivery area, for example:
    <Shipping from the Kanto region> to Hokkaido or Kyushu (500 yen), or Okinawa (2,000 yen)-
    <Shipping from the Kansai region> to Hokkaido (500 yen), or Okinawa (2,000 yen)
  • *2 Delivering luggage from a lodging facility to an airport requires a fee of 648 yen separately.

More details will be posted late January 2018 at the LFT website: https://www.luggage-free-travel.com/.

[Applicable areas (as of January 2018)]

  Luggage checking Luggage receiving
Delivery from arriving airport to lodging facility 4 main airports(*1) Lodging facilities nationwide(*3)
Delivery between lodging facilities LFT agents, approx. 100 facilities(*2) Lodging facilities nationwide(*3)
Delivery from lodging facility to departing airport LFT agents, approx. 100 facilities(*2) 4 main airports(*1)
  • (*1) Four airports: Narita, Haneda, Kansai and Chubu
  • (*2) Approx. 100 LFT agents, primarily located in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Takayama.
  • (*3) Approx. 10,000 lodging facilities nationwide, selected based on usage tendency by foreign travelers visiting Japan.

The number of airports and LFT agents handling the service will gradually be increased, aiming to make it possible to transport luggage from 2,500 facilities nationwide to major lodging facilities and airports by 2020.

[Future plans]

  • 1) In August this year, JTB's Sunrise Tours package tours incorporating the LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL service became available for purchase through JTB's group companies in and out of Japan and its agents overseas as well as the websites of its online travel agents (OTA) and JAPANiCAN.com. Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Takayama, popular among foreign tourists, are the first destinations offered, and more will be added gradually. At the same time, an English website for reserving LFT (https://www.luggage-free-travel.com/) and LFT agent recruiting website in Japanese (https://www.luggage-free-travel.com/partner/) will be set up. The number of facilities handling the service will be increased gradually, starting from the areas around Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Takayama.
  • 2) Services for the Sunrise Tours packages including LFT will start from January 2018.
  • 3) From late January 2018, LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL will become available for individual travelers visiting Japan through the English website. They can access the site to apply before leaving for Japan or during their stay in Japan. By April, the language support will be expanded to include Korean, Traditional and Simplified Chinese. More languages, such as French and Spanish, will be added later.
  • 4) After April 2018, LFT agents will be recruited from areas beyond the aforementioned four areas.

[Future outlook]

Regarding the service content, the plan is to continue expanding the range of services to increase convenience for foreign travelers. These services will include transport of "leisure luggage," such as skis, snowboards, and golf bags, as well as "shopping luggage," a service in which travelers can receive their purchased souvenirs at the airport on the day of departure from Japan, in addition to suitcases and other large luggage. A broader range of discount and complimentary services for admission/experiences at tourist facilities nationwide is also planned. JTB, Panasonic and Yamato Holdings aim to make LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL a de facto standard in tourism service, with 1 million people, or 2.5% of the foreign visitors to Japan, enjoying benefits of this service by 2020.

Reference:

[Overview of trial]

In preparation for the commercial launch of the service, a trial of hands-free tourism using multi-language ICT terminals was carried out, with LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL reception terminals installed at Haneda Airport, and at six lodging facilities in the Tokyo metropolitan area:
  • Period: September 1 (Thursday) - October 31 (Monday), 2016
  • Locations: Haneda Airport, six hotels in the Tokyo metropolitan area, and Hakone, Kyoto, and Osaka.
  • Subject: Study of service use by 150 foreign visitors to Japan who reserved lodging at foreign branches or foreign agents of JTB, and a survey of 336 foreign travelers visiting Japan.
  • Content: Verification of usability and need for ICT hands-free tourism service linking itinerary/attribute information with delivery information.
  • Test facilities:
    • Keikyu Travel Information Counter at Haneda Airport, (Tokyo)
    • Keio Plaza Hotel (Tokyo)
    • Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku (Tokyo)
    • Hotel Sunroute Higashi Shinjuku (Tokyo)
    • ibis Tokyo Shinjuku (Tokyo)
    • Hotel Sunroute Ariake (Tokyo)
    • Hotel Intercontinental Tokyo Bay (Tokyo)

<Results of trial>

The results confirmed the effectiveness of the system for providing service using the itinerary information of foreign travelers to Japan, and the business potential of the LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL service. It was found that alleviating the stress of foreign travelers to Japan about large luggage has a great advantage not only for the users of the service but also for the lodging facilities. The main points are as follows:

  • • At present, these services are not used much. Current recognition rate of luggage transport services is 28%, and those with past experience using such services is extremely low at 3.5%. Efforts will be needed to promote awareness of the service among travelers before they leave for Japan.
  • • The key factors for the customer when using a luggage transport service are: 1) No loss or delay (58%), 2) Price (47%), and 3) Easy application (45%). This showed a need for a safe and secure support system with fully-reliable e-mail and inquiry response, an easy-to-understand service menu and price-setting, and a system using ICT to enable easy application and payment in multiple languages.
  • • In evaluation of the process of using the LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL service and system operability, 72% indicated that the explanation of the reception staff was easy to understand, and 54% indicated that system operation was easy to understand. This demonstrates that both foreigners and staff require simple procedures and multi-language support at reception.
  • • Regarding price-setting and intention to use again, 90% said they would like to use the service again if the price is about ¥1,500 for delivery from the airport to a lodging facility, or from one lodging facility to another, and 56% would like to use the service again if the price is about ¥2,500. This showed market potential according to the prices set for the LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL service.

Media Inquiries:

JTB Corporation
Public Relations Office Tel.: +81 (0) 3-5796-5833
Panasonic Corporation
Global Communications Department Tel: +81 (0) 3-3574-5664
Yamato Holdings, Co., Ltd.
Public Relations Strategy Tel.: +81 (0) 3-3248-5822

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