eTN Hero: Takashi Kai, Assistant Manager, Grand Hyatt Tokyo
Many of us traveling around the globe on business have travel stories to tell.
We all have stories about complaints, funny interactions, and also many good stories about our global industry, travel, and tourism.
As the publisher of eTN, this story is one in a series of feedback that I’d like to give about my own travels.
On July 29, I arrived in Tokyo, Japan, at Narita International Airport on a flight via Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi. Arriving at baggage claim 4, I saw all “priority bags” already lined up and grabbed my black Adidas duffle bag and my blue Samsonite suitcase. I then went through Japan customs and boarded my hotel limousine bus for a two-hour ride to the Grand Hyatt Tokyo Hotel.
Arriving at the hotel, I was about to ask the bellman to take my suitcases when I noticed my blue Samsonite was not really mine. I had taken the wrong suitcase! Even for a veteran travel professional like myself, it’s important to compare tags when picking up a suitcase – what I mess I felt like. To make it worse, I threw the baggage tag away at the bus station at Narita Airport.
I asked the limousine driver to take the unknown suitcase back to Narita and hand it to Etihad Airways.
As I checked in, I shared my mishap with Mr. Takashi Kai, the Assistant Manager at the Concierge Desk at the Grand Hyatt.
After arriving in my room, I called Etihad Tokyo only to be connected to someone in Abu Dhabi who kept giving me the same Tokyo number to call that I had just called to reach him. I googled for information, but no matter what came up, there was only one phone number shown for Etihad Airways in Tokyo, and this number then forwarded to a call center in Abu Dhabi.
During this frustrating experience, Takashi called me and said he had located my suitcase. He had arranged for everything, and all I needed to do was to get back to the airport and bring my suitcase through customs.
My suitcase was waiting for me just as Takashi had arranged for at the ANA baggage office in Terminal 1. I have no idea who he called to get to the right someone, or how he explained how to find my suitcase without a tag number, or even how he managed for ANA to keep it in their office, but it all worked.
This time I took a taxi to Tokyo Station and the Narita Express, arriving at the airport in a little less than 1 hour. The ANA baggage office immediately knew why I was there, and helped me to get into the customs area of the airport to retrieve my bag. I took my bag and went downstairs to the Narita train station. I had 20 minutes to kill and sat at a Starbucks when I noticed my friendly ANA agent together with another colleague, both out of breath and looking for me. When they found me, they explained that I had to pay 2200 yen ($30) to have the wrong suitcase delivered to its rightful owner. I gave him 3000 yen and said it’s ok, and then I was on my way back to the Grand Hyatt with my own suitcase.
For me, Mr. Kai from the Grand Hyatt Tokyo is a hero, and because of his efforts, I ended up enjoying my one night in Tokyo.
The hotel is simply perfect. It is located adjacent to several shopping malls, restaurants, and entertainment venues, and has a 25-meter lap pool, a state-of-the-art gym with a blood pressure machine, and high-tech rooms for today’s business traveler. I still don’t understand how to operate the high-tech Japanese toilet, but I was able to make it flush.
Before he located my suitcase, Takashi had arranged for an amenity kit to be delivered to my room – just in case I needed a shirt, toothpaste, and some other essential items. The man had thought of everything I might need.
What could have been a stressful ending to a long 3 1/2 -week trip around the globe, wound up being a great day. As a final gesture, Takashi arranged for me to enjoy a complimentary late 6 pm check out so I could enjoy the hotel’s amenities until I had to leave for the airport.
When I checked in for my ANA flight to Honolulu, the agent handed me an envelope with 800 yen – the change from what I had given them to send the suitcase back to its owner and the actual fee. I wasn’t expecting this, and I had never told ANA that I was traveling to Honolulu the next day. I was even more impressed.
I choose to believe there are hundreds of people like Mr. Takashi Kai in the world of hospitality, who make our travel and tourism world a better welcoming place, and a business that people enjoy working in.
Takashi, you made my day and my trip – thank you… arigato!
Searching TripAdvisor many other guests had similar experiences with Takashi. In 2015 a Canadian guest posted: “I’d like to compliment the employees of Concierge (especially of Takashi Kai) for the excellent service he provided me and took care of all my queries.They also provided timely and helpful advice regarding the travel information. They were extremely attentive and he listened to all my concerns with a great deal of patience. They have a caring approach and they are truly professional. Please accept my gratitude towards their speedy and efficient services.”
In 2014 Takashi and many staff members of the Grand Hyatt Tokyo Hotel walked 100km for Oxfam Trailwalkers Japan because they believed their challenge supports people in the world. hotel Oxfam Trailwalker is one of the world events for an international charity event.
eTN would like to hear more stories like this about positive experiences enable us to feature more of the great people running the largest peace industry in the world.