28 Feb Hotel competition: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer
It is natural, that every business has competition. Healthy competition can lead to better services, higher overall quality, and better brand recognition. Hospitality business can get very competitive, especially in touristic destinations, where hotels are similar and stacked quite close to each other. Unless you have a very unique selling point or a differentiation strategy, you will dissolve in a sea of other thousands of hotels.
How to keep hotel competition at your eyesight?
In order to be outstanding from your competitors, you need to know them. If you have no idea whom you competing against, you will go nowhere. But how to get to know your competition? How to distinguish which businesses are your worthy competitors and which ones are out of your interest point.
There are several ways, how you can get familiar with your competitors:
☞ Get to know who your competitors are. The best way to get familiar with your “neighbors” is to join hubs and associations. This will allow you to get a list of businesses that might run in your area or fall in the same category as yours. After starting networking with them, you can keep an eye on those properties that you find as potential competitors.
☞ Once you determined who your main hotel competition is – monitor them. You can monitor in several ways:
* Follow them on social media. See what are they posting and what crowd they are focusing on. Most probably they will post their latest and most important news there, so you can be the first one to learn about it.
* Subscribe for their newsletters and blog posts. Most hotels release information via these channels and you can get pretty useful insights about your competitors’ plans.
* Once in a while check their website and look for new special offers or packages. Maybe you can offer something similar but for a better price or the same price but a bigger value.
* Set up Google alerts to receive notifications when your competitors post something or get attention from media. Read more about Google Alerts.
* Reveal SEO tactics of your hotel competition. There are various tools that can help you to find out what keywords your competitors are ranking and how well they are doing. Find out the best ranking keywords and try to make them work for you as well.
* Monitor competitors’ prices on sales channels. There are some property management systems that can monitor the prices of your defined competitors. However, it’s not always recommended to offer lower prices than the rest of the market. This might create an impression of low-quality services and people would not be tempted to book with the lowest possible rate.
☞ Pay attention to what your guests are saying. Your guest is a valuable source of information. You can learn from them about your flaws and about your strengths. It will be an insider opinion of someone, who might have stayed at your competitor’s hotel. Check reviews and distinguish a positive tendency that your guests always bring up. This can become your differentiation point so you can focus on embracing the best side of your business. Also, you can focus on collecting the highest scores and explicit reviews. This will help you to stand out from the rest of the hotels in your area.
☞ Constantly educate yourself. In order to keep up with business, you have to be aware of the whole tourism industry. Find gaps in your knowledge and fill them by attending seminars and other relevant meetings. Communicate with industry professionals and subscribe for industry-related newsletters.
Can your competitor also be your partner?
The expression about keeping enemies close is smart and created not without a reason. Once you get to know your competitors, you should try to keep a professional and good relationship with them. Healthy competition will give benefits to everyone participating. Build your own partner circle and surround yourself with respectable partners.
“You never know, when the person you’re competing against could turn into a valuable ally” – H. O. Maycotte, Forbes
Best practices of turning enemy to the partner
- Join your forces with other hotels for charitable causes. For example: Gather a few hotels together to promote sustainable tourism. Launch a campaign where certain profit from reservation will be donated for wildlife preservation or re-forestation programme. Such a nice goal will look representative and noble for the majority of your guests. Especially now, when ecotourism is gaining momentum.
- A similar tactic could work when you join with another hotel in order to enter a new market.
- Increase up-sell by joining together with other hotels. For example, you might have an outstanding restaurant but your competitor has a well know SPA. You can promote their wellness services for your guests and competitor will send their guests to your restaurant for a dinner.
In order to survive among your competitors, you need to find your brightest differentiation point. In order to define your advantages, you need to spend time analyzing and evaluating your competitors. Make sure to focus on your services and also on customer service. Having an exceptional team and providing quality services will always lead to loyal guests. Hotel competition is a little bit like a game because you have to stay alert and adjust changes at your place based on certain changes in the market. “Play” fair and be respected by your competitors, who can become your partners if needed.