by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | November 6, 2017

CASIn just under three years, the 2020 Olympics will touch down in Tokyo, and the impending games and the enormous influx of tourism that they are expected to generate has spurred a rush in hotel development and renovation in Japan's capital city.

In September of this year, the 387-room Grand Hyatt Tokyo took the wraps off a U.S. multimillion-dollar renovation of its third-floor grand ballroom, which now features 2,400 pendant lights and a 317-inch LED screen, which was customized for the space. The state-of-the-art ballroom lighting can be specially programmed to reproduce logos and create special designs and patterns for events. The renewal, says general manager Steve Dewire, is part of of the Grand Hyatt brand's larger initiative to reposition itself in the international MICE market.

hyatt"We are receiving more inquiries from U.S. group business. And leading up to the Olympics, an increase in demand will definitely be expected," Dewire told The Hotel Insider. "Each hotel is realizing that they need to clearly differentiate their unique selling points from their competitors to appeal to many different types of groups and travelers." The renovation of the grand ballroom comes on the heels of the hotel's second-floor event spaces that completed a remodeling in 2016.

Japan's government has said it hopes to attract 40 million visitors to the country by 2020. By comparison, in 2016, the number of overseas visitors to Japan was just over 24 million, a 21.8 percent increase over 2015. As such, Tokyo is going to need a significant injection of new guest rooms to meet the expected boom in tourism. The city's development pipeline is gearing up with numerous hotel projects

In 2020, Marriott International is aiming to open two Edition hotels in time for the Olympics, the brand's first entries in Japan. One will have 200 rooms, the other just 80. Next year, the 164-room Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo will be the first new-build Hyatt Centric hotel in Asia Pacific. Located in Ginza, the prominent luxury fashion and entertainment center of the city on Namiki-Dori, it will occupy the top 10 floors of the 12-story commercial structure tentatively known as the Ginza Asahi Building. Among its features are a restaurant and bar (with terrace seating), meeting space and a fitness center.

The new 41-story, Hotel Okura is scheduled to open in 2019. The property is being built on the site of the original 53-year-old Okura, which was torn down. The new hotel will have 510 guest rooms (130 more than the original), nine meeting and event rooms, and several full-service restaurants.

The Grand Hyatt Tokyo is wasting no time on getting a leg up on the competition. "We have already directly contracted with the International Olympic Committee for room blocks," said Dewire. "We are now working closely with the different sponsors as they review and make choices for accommodations and event venues. We expect the demand for the remaining rooms will be high for the Olympic period overall."