Do you know who your real competitors are? You may think they are the hotels down the street, but are you really comparing apples to apples? It is important to know exactly who your competitors are and to keep up with them at all turns. This will save time and effort later on during the sales process.
There are a two different types of competitors of which you must be aware:
- Direct Competitors. These are the hotels your customers believe are interchangeable. Meaning, they believe you both have the same product and service to offer.
- Alternative Competitors. These hotels offer similar products on a different level or are more geographically remote. But your customers will still consider them.
It's not just about the hotels, but about the managers who run them. Do you know your counterpart at your competitor hotels? If not, get to know them. Ask them to take you on a site inspection of their hotel, learn and be observant.
Take careful notes of the route they take you through the hotel during your competitive site, their presentation style and how they interact with the staff. This will show you exactly how they interact with customers and how you can leverage this to your advantage.
It is important to know your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. This is how you can positively sell against them. Highlight your strengths against their weaknesses, and downplay your weaknesses against their strengths. Remember to never speak negatively about your competition. Rather, play up your strengths through positive affirmations about what you can do to benefit the potential client better than anyone else.
For example, does the competing hotel have natural lighting in the meeting space and you do not? You will need to know this when selling against that hotel. Play up other strengths of your hotel, such as having all meeting space on one level and how the lighting is more conducive to meetings versus the natural lighting issue.
Keep up with your competitors - both your local competitors and those who may be in another market - by knowing what they are charging, when they are planning renovations, and who is staying with them. Spend time researching their websites, amenities and services as well as how they position their hotel. This will lead to a deeper knowledge base about them, will help you understand how to set yourself apart from the competition, and it is critical to selling against them to achieve market share and drive results.
Knowledge is Power!