Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. The hospitality injury can be very competitive. Similar to other arenas, it’s important to know how your competition is doing. The following contributed post discusses this and is entitled, How Hotel Owners Can Assess The Competition.
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If you have a number of hotels across different destinations, it may seem impossible to assess the competition effectively, especially if you are not immersed in the area yourself. However, evaluating the competition is of paramount importance if your business is to take the steps forward you need it to. Below, we reveal some top tips on how you can monitor competition to win local markets.
Social media reviews
Firstly, you can use social media reviews in order to leverage the feedback that customers use to make their decisions. This data will tell you what guests think of the local competition while also alerting you to a hotel’s strengths and weaknesses. This will put you in a position whereby you have all of the information you need to differentiate.
The great thing about social media feedback is that the information is readily available. People leave comments on the likes of Facebook and Twitter daily, and these can be accessed with ease at any time of the day. You end up with information coming from multiple sources, which spans across customer demographics. And, when you consider that most consumers read reviews before they make a hotel booking, you see why this is so important. You need to work on building your social media presence and your online reputation so that you rival the competition. After all, 81 per cent of travellers find user reviews important, and 49 per cent won’t book a hotel without reviews.
Social review websites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Expedia certainly should not be ignored either. Not only should you use such websites to build up a positive image, but you need to engage with customers too. Research shows that one in four people expect a reply on these platforms within an hour. You can really capture customers in the area by being active.
When it comes to creating a website through a website builder, one thing you often are not able to do yourself, typically through a lack of understanding, is embed analytics into your site design. This means that you are left missing a critical part of your online puzzle.
So, do you need to have your entire site re-designed? Do you need to spend a fortune on an expert web designer? You can, but it’s not a requirement. Instead, you just need to find a SEO firm who can take care of this for you. This will be a company that has access to advanced technology and software so that they can effectively assess your online presence, not just your website, and make the right decisions that will drive your business forward through assessing what you are doing now and how you match up with the competition.
You can also track and benchmark your performance by using feedback from surveys. You will get a good understanding of what your previous customers think about your hotel, confirming where you excel, and where you should be making improvements. You may consider doing a prize draw or something to entice your customers to take part in the survey, as only two per cent of consumers complete questionnaires.
Location-based surveys are important because different things matter to different demographics. For example, it’s likely that those visiting New York are going to have different expectations to those heading to Texas.
Involve your staff
Last but not least, make sure you involve the local hotel staff. Their insight can be extremely valuable, especially as you are not there yourself. They will be able to suggest immediate improvement opportunities. After all, they are going to be engaging with your guests every day, and this is when the most honest and direct feedback tends to surface. Encourage all of your employees to be honest, no matter how brutal the feedback may be. At the end of the day, this is going to benefit your company in the long run.
Think about it; what we say at the moment is often very different to what we say when we have had time to think about it. By using this feedback alongside the data extracted above, you can get a well-rounded view of what you need to do to compete locally with other hotels.