The Japanese Capsule Hotel Its Characteristics And Popularity Marketing Essay


This section will contain a review of some books and journals to show an in depth understanding of the subject matter available. Throughout, it will be linked to both aim and objectives and by the end it should have explained and made the aims and objectives better understood.


An investigation into whether the “Capsule” hotel model from Japan would be a sustainable business model in the UK?


To examine the concept of the Japanese Capsule hotel its characteristics and popularity

To discover what factors motivate tourists to stay in economy hotels

To critically investigate whether the capsule hotel would be attractive to people in the UK

What is a literature review?

Rowley et al (2004) have suggested that ‘a literature review is a summary of a subject field that supports the identification of specific research questions’. Also there are a range of sources that can be used, which are journal articles, books, and web-based resources. According to Jankowicz (2005) a literature review is concerned with researching topics or materials related to the project. This will help the writer understand more about the theories of the research project. The most important thing for the researcher is finding out which aspects should be examined. Also Jankowicz (2005) has suggested the literature review is a critical analysis that tells the investigation about the materials that have been applied to this topic. It helps the writer to narrow down the area of research and focus on theories which are directly related to the topic. Kumar (2005) has stated that a literature review is one of the essential preliminary tasks. It is an integral part of the entire research process; also it makes a valuable contribution. Moreover, Levin (2005) has suggested that a literature review presents an overview of the relevant literature and brings out the important points of your project.

The purpose of a hotel

According to Sue et al (2005) ‘the Hotel Proprietors Act 1956 provides a clear definition of a hotel:

An establish held out by the proprietor as offering food, drink and, if so required, sleeping accommodation, without special contract, to any traveler presenting himself who appears able and willing to pay reasonable sum for the services and facilities provided and who is in a fit state to be received.’

Type of hotels

Examine the growth in economy or budget alternatives

The characteristic of the Japanese pod hotel

According to Japanblog(2007) “A capsule hotel is a type of hotel accommodation popular mostly among travellers stranded for the night and those who are on a tight budget.” Capsules hotel are usually about 2m * 1m*1.5m in dimension and so is unsuitable for those above six feet tall. Despite the very limited space the customers will be surprised at how well equipped these hotels are. Each capsule usually comes with a built in mini TV, radio, and alarm clock, plus fresh bedding of course. Customers can also use the hotel’s public lounge space including lockers, shower rooms, laundry facilities, restaurants, vending machines, and clothes shop. An overnight stay costs Japanese currency ¥2000-4000(=£10- £20) while an afternoon nap is usually even cheaper.

Capsuleinn (2005) described: “the actual sleeping room is a capsule unit made of reinforced plastic and designed in the image of a jet airplane’s cockpit.”

In addition, Itravel,com(2007) defined since most visitors to a Capsule hotel are Japanese business men who don’t have time to go home, there are amenities there for people who didn’t plan on staying away from home.

Also according to Japanblog(2007) Capsule hotels have been around since 1979 and is pretty common in Japan. However the concept still hasn’t spread to other countries despite the convenience they bring.


Summarized from Benson (2002) and Hill (2001) psychology comes from two words: psyche and logos. ‘Psyche’ means mind and sour and ‘logos’ means the study of a topic. Thus, the literal meaning of psychology is the study of the mind. Benson suggested a commonly accepted definition by psychologists, which is “psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior of human and animals (Benson, 2002, p. 5).

In addition, Chon et al (2000) have defined the guest’s psychology is very important for hospitality market. Knowing what kind of person would be attracted to a particular place helps marketers to develop and place advertising to attract the right personality type.


According to the University of lowa’s Academic Advising Center (online: 2007) ‘motivation is the combination of desire, value, and beliefs that drives you to take action. These three motivating factors, and/ or lack of them, are at the root of why people behave the way they do. Because you ultimately control your values, beliefs, and desires, you can influence your motivations.’

Johnston (2003) has suggested in the late 1960s that Abraham Maslow believed our basic needs naturally divided into a different hierarchy which ranged from primitive to more advanced. At the very bottom are our most basic biological needs, such as hunger and thirst. The next needs are safety and security; in the middle are our needs for knowledge and sense of belonging, finally at the top, are the spiritual needs (see figure 1).

Figure 1: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Source: Government of Ontario Online, 1996 [accessed 19 November 2009]

Also, Chon (2000) has suggested all psychological motives could be classified as basic motives and secondary motives. In the hospitality industry, people’s basic needs from a lodging facility are a good night’s rest in a comfortable and soft room and food. Secondary motives are fulfilled by celebrating special moments, such as theme night, birthdays and so on.

Cooper et al (2005) stated that motivation is the key to understanding tourist behaviour and will answer the question of why people travel. Cooper et al described motivation to cause a person to act in a certain way or stimulate their interest and say motivation to cause a person to a person to act in a certain way or stimulate.

Additionally, Holloway (2003) suggested motivation for can be divided into different sectors including holiday travel, business travel, visiting relatives, health travel and religious travel, and continuing to state that it is related to five basic needs, which is cultural, physical, interpersonal, status and prestige and commercial.


Page (2003,8) defined that ‘ there have been subsequent attempts to clarify what is meant by the term visitor as apposed to ‘tourist’, and the distinction between tourist who travel within their own country(domestic tourists) and those who travel to other countries(international tourists).’

Supply and demand


David and Francis (2007) defined that marketing is the company/ organisation is order to satisfy people’s wants, products and services are exchanged in mutually rewarding transactions generally, but not exclusively, using the monetary system.

As Middleton and Clarke (2001:19) suggest, in term of customer, marketing is concerned with understanding the needs and desired of existing and future buyers. It is also about which products they choose, when, how much, at what price and how often they purchase them. It is concerned with how they get information about the products, where they buy the products from-whether they are bought directly of through retail intermediary- and how the customers feel after their purchase and consumption of product.

In terms of producers, marketing concentrates on which products to manufacture and why, especially with new product, the volume of supply and at what price, how to communicate their offers and by which media. Finally, it considers when and where to make these product available to the buyer.

Jobber (2004) concludes that through satisfying and exceeding the needs of customer, marketing will help achieve the corporate goals of the company which is more important than the competition.

Marketing mix

Philp (2008) thought the advertising and sales are only part of the marketing mix. The product and price are the elements as well. The professional will decide what the characteristic of the product is and set the price, decide how to distribute the product and decide the best methods to promote the product.

According to David (2007), marketing mix includes four important aspects: product, price, place and promotion. “These 4-Ps are the four key decision areas that marketers must manages so that they satisfy or exceed customer needs better than the competition.”

Christopher (2004) proposed the product is what is the actually delivered to customer that could be tangible goods or intangible service. The price refers to the customer would like to spend how much money on the product. The place is how the customer accesses the product. If customer could get the product easier that encourages them to buy the product, promotion is very important in the marketing mix related to adopt which techniques to communicate to the marketplace.


To sum up, the research within this literature review has given a varied array of information into the nature of Japanese pod hotel and sustainable business model as well as related subjects such as definitions of hotel, psychology and marketing. It has given insight into different theorist’s views on a number of subjects which will help to achieve the main aim and objective of this piece of research and helps to narrow down the topic under consideration. Overall, the information collected was relevant and it helps an investigation of the subject and provides a clear understanding of whether the pod hotel model from Japan would be a sustainable business model in the UK.

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