Who’s who: Real estate savants of Japan’s top ski destination steps in as judges of the 3rd PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Greater Niseko)

The independent judging panel are equipped with years of experience and expertise to carefully scrutinise the work of their peers 

In comparison to the real estate landscape across the region, Greater Niseko in Hokkaido, Japan comes with unique advantages. This area is one of the top destination for skiers around the globe and this powder paradise will always be considered as a must-see for family vacations. 

The real estate sector, albeit more modest compared to the island country’s major cities, has increased momentum post-border reopening. The introduction of remote working has prompted travellers to find safe havens across the globe to either invest in a second home or to embrace a more nomadic lifestyle – and Greater Niseko is among those destinations that have caught their eye. 

This growing appetite for the area means that the independent panel of judges of the 3rd edition of the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Greater Niseko) will have their work cut out for them to ensure that the developers continue to uphold the Gold Standard in real estate. 

Our judges will evaluate entrants based on an in-depth set of criteria that considers the users’ evolving needs, the sustainability materials used, the durability of the project, and much more. 

Armed with years of experience and expertise, let us get to know the panel who will determine which candidates promote the benchmark of real estate excellence in Greater Niseko: 

All-around real estate whiz 

As the reigning chairperson of the independent judging panel for two years and a valued member since the programme’s launch in 2020, Bill Barnett has over 3 decades of experience as a world-renowned hospitality, tourism, and real estate advisor, with in-depth knowledge of the Asia Pacific region. 

When he’s not overseeing the judging panel, he runs Asia-based C9 Hotelworks as its founder and managing director. His comprehensive real estate background ranges from hotel operations to property development to asset management. He is a published author of four books on travel, property, and hospitality. 

A passionate mastermind 

Eddie Guillemette has been a respected panel member since last year. He is the co-founder and CEO of Midori no Ki (MnK), a real estate and hospitality firm that develops and manages communities in Niseko. Since its establishment, his projects have been receiving constant praises from guests on TripAdvisor and have garnered several industry accolades. He is active in philanthropic causes across the region and promotes diversity hiring. 

Maven of travel and hospitality 

As a newcomer, Greg Hough, who has worked in travel and hospitality for 25 years, will provide a crucial insight during the panel discussions. He is the managing director of property management and vacation rental business Niseko Portfolio and tourism services company Explore Travel Group. He has been active in the Hokkaido property scene and in promoting Niseko tourism since he moved to the area 13 years ago. 

Development maestro 

Minoru Okubo, the representative director of ResortPropertyJapan Co. Ltd, is a new member of our 2022 panel. He brings with him 20 years of resort and condominium development knowledge to aid in the judges’ decision-making process. As an esteemed member of the business association and tourism association, he keeps in touch with the local real estate and consulting community to connect Japanese with global businesses.  

Connoisseur of construction and design

Shigeru Uehara is the director of Niseko Home Design, Ltd. This judge of two years operates a unique practice in Niseko, one that has acquired building qualifications and has exhaustive knowledge in architectural design. He leads all facets of construction and design, and collaborates with Japanese partners who are well-versed in the distinct environmental needs of Niseko. 

Apart from these industry experts scrutinising their peers, local representatives of our official Supervisor HLB, an award-winning global network of auditing and accountancy firms, will be present at all judges’ meetings to ensure that the entire process is conducted fairly and without bias, guaranteeing that the 17-year long programme secures its values of credibility, fairness, and transparency. 

Find out more about the judging process at asiapropertyawards.com/judging-process/