TOTO products are a great fit for hotels
Interview with Kazuo Sako, Chairman and ECO at TOTO Europe and TOTO USA
How important has the hotel market been for TOTO’s progress in Europe since 2009?
It’s been very important. TOTO products are in high demand and are featured in many hotels. Focussing on the hotel business to introduce as many of our products as possible in hotels is a proven strategy within the global TOTO Group. This is why we continued with this strategy when we first came to Europe in 2009. The hotel industry was one of our key target groups from the very beginning. We are convinced that hotels in general serve as a platform to increase awareness of our products. In hotels, many people see sophisticated technologies and experience added comfort first hand, and want to replicate this in their own homes.
We pay special attention to five-star hotels within the hotel industry. Of course, this is linked to our product range in Europe, which focusses primarily on the high-end market. Five-star hotels offer guests superior accommodations along with the finest technology and equipment. With TOTO products featured in bathrooms, five-star hotels are able to provide the level of luxury their guests require. Five-star hotels have large numbers of international guests visiting from all over the world. TOTO is one of the best-known brands world-wide, particularly in Asia and the US.
The WASHLET is the most important product in our collection: We are the pioneers of WASHLET technology – our competitors in Europe do not have the years of experience needed to effectively manufacture and advance WASHLET technology. We have WASHLETs with features that fit perfectly into five-star hotels, and ones ideal for three- and four-star hotels. However, all our WASHLETs offer the guests the same high level of hygiene, comfort and well-being that they need.
What kind of role does bathroom technology play in the future of hotel design?
We are convinced that bathroom design is integral to the future of hotel design. Hotels are always finding ways to differ from their competitors, and offering technologically advanced bathroom fixtures is one distinctive way to stand out. This trend stemmed from advances in electronic entertainment included in five-star rooms, which is now expanding into bathrooms. TOTO adopted this approach, integrating our technologies into products in a way that allows people to enjoy them, but not see them. We believe that technology is here to serve people and make their lives easier. This is why we hide technology in good design.
The technologies integrated in our products are the USPs we have in the European market. When we entered in 2009, design was the only factor differentiating European competitors from each other. But TOTO’s launch introduced an entirely new component to the bathroom business in the European market: technology, its advances and integration.
Designing hotels with environmentally friendly products is becoming more and more important. How does TOTO meet this agenda?
TOTO is committed to finding solutions to global social issues through its CSR activities, and focusses on the environment in manufacturing. The TOTO Group actively promotes water conservation by distributing its water-saving products around the world. The aim is to reduce water consumption by 1.3 billion m3 by the end of the 2017 fiscal year. Our sustainable strategy is at the heart of our product development and overall cultural ethos. Most of our production plants are certified according to ISO 14001, which means that we produce according to the international environmental standards that we continuously work on improving. Our product development is highly focused on conserving nature – reducing water consumption on the one hand, while developing and producing intelligent and effective surfaces/ceramic finishes on the other hand. We have toilets with water-saving flush systems as well as faucets and showers which effectively save water. For the hotel market, this means preserving nature while saving money through reduced water costs. TOTO’s smart CeFiONtect surface glaze (standard on all TOTO toilets and WASHLETs) requires far less detergents compared to conventional toilets. Also, our latest Actilight WASHLET uses photocatalytic technology to completely clean itself, eliminating the need for chemicals and cleansers.
Mr Sako, thank you for speaking with us today.
1. Kazuo Sako, Chairman and CEO at TOTO Europe and TOTO USA
2. View of TOTO headquarters in Kokura, Japan.
3. Impressions of the works premises in Kokura.
4. Ceramics waiting to be fired.