Why a well-specified brand positioning for your hotel as well as a good knowledge of who you are, always pay off
Have you ever wondered why some hoteliers struggle with changing booking behaviors, price dumping in the market, constantly declining room rates resulting in lower profit margins, and loss of repeating guests? And why there are other hoteliers who appear to attract more guests as if by magic, keep their occupancy levels and average daily rates (ADRs) high, and simply perform in an outstanding way?
Well, we all know that there isn’t such thing as magic, luck or anything similar in the business world. There is only one common thread that all successful hoteliers have in common. So, let’s kick this off and take a closer look on what truly drives success for independent hotels:
1 – Successful Hoteliers know exactly Who they are
Successful hotels have a defined concept, which allows them to better know who they are and position themselves clearly in the market. Hotels that have the courage to be different and offer tailored facilities and services to a specific target group are more likely to attract the right guests who have the right expectations and are willing to pay the right prices.
For example, if a hotel wants to stand out for premium and luxury hospitality, it must also sell at premium rates, otherwise, it does not fit the expectations of its targeted guests. A family-friendly resort, on the other hand, needs to offer great children and family facilities, activities and packages at an affordable price. And a modern lifestyle hotel needs to provide innovative and stylish holiday facilities, such as smart rooms, high-end technologies, and upgraded gastronomy options. Cyclists, business travellers, divers, women, school groups, guests with disabilities — each of these target groups has its own special requirements and needs for their hotel stay, which means they are looking for a hotel that offers the added value they seek.
Clearly positioned hotels know exactly the type of guest they can and want to target and cater for in an outstanding way (and which type of guest doesn’t fit for them). They know their guests’ problems, needs, and wishes inside and out and address them better than their competition.
- Successful hotels know their concept: the derived positioning, their target guests, how to reach them (communication channels and activities) and how to sell their rooms (sales channels and activities, pricing strategy).
- Trying to appeal to everybody does not help anybody – know who you are and what you want to stand for in your guest’s mind.
2 – Successful Hotels tell their own stories that highlight their uniqueness
Today’s guests have an abundance of choices and comprehensive information at their fingertips when looking for their ideal holiday destination. Online platforms such as Booking.com, Google, TripAdvisor, and Trivago supply them with unlimited options. In today’s interchangeable hotel product environment, the price is often the only distinguishing factor for consumers.
Guests of successful hoteliers often choose properties because they tell emotional stories that have value. Clearly positioned hotels offer tailored facilities, services, and packages which they communicate through sharable stories. They showcase unique pictures, videos and content – not the standard content of hotels in the destination. Their social media profiles represent their original brand identity and engage users with unique messages. As such, they strengthen their clear positioning and associated characteristics in their guests’ mind every single time.
- Successful hotels with unique positioning are clearly different than their competitors, offering tangible advantages and benefits for their guests.
- Successful hotels tell their unique story on a consistent basis, in order to maintain the engagement with their guests.
- Hotels that truly stand out from the crowd can achieve higher occupancies, ask for higher rates, obtain a higher RevPAR, achieve better business performance, and, in the long run, win the battle.
3 – Successful hospitality means happy guests
The most successful hotels are the ones that manage to say farewell to happy and excited guests — something that is achieved because they clearly know their expectations and needs when they travel. Also, with their clear positioning, their guests perfectly know what to expect and can set their expectations accordingly. Therefore, they prevent disappointments and generate happy guests that recommend the hotel, write positive guest reviews, are most likely to come back again and again, and do the best marketing for the hotel – for free! Whereas hotels that are not clearly positioned may just offer an average guest benefit and not an exciting one. Such hotels primarily have to compete via their pricing, as they do not offer an outstanding guest benefit criteria.
- Hotels with a clear and authentic market position and a promise to fulfil certain expectations are more likely to prevent upset guests resulting in bad reviews on rating platforms.
- Successful hotels limit their offer and focus on their consciously selected target group to fulfil their needs and desires in an outstanding way.
- The clearer and more distinct the profile of your hotel is, the better you will create enthusiasm amongst your guests, the stronger the demand will be, and the happier your guests will be.
Clearly positioned, differentiated and specialized hotels with a strong profile do manage to stand out from the competition and achieve optimum returns. They evoke desirability, and therefore generate higher occupancy and achieve significantly better ADRs.
‘Positioning’ means taking a position and standing for something specific. Consequently, positioning is a conscious preference of certain guests over other guests. However, this does not mean that you should ignore guests who do not fit in your target group, as you may have to cater to various target groups in order to meet your occupancy goals.
“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” Seth Godin
The stronger you implement your positioning, the better you know your guests, the more unique the design of your hotel is, the more special your offers, services, and facilities are — the higher the willingness of your guests will be to pay a premium fee for your hotel product. Simple, really!
So whether you are launching a new brand or evaluating your existing hotel, spend the time and effort needed to ensure you have:
- A holistic, sustainable, creative and innovative hotel concept and the clearly derived positioning.
- A clear understanding of WHO you are, WHAT you are offering, WHAT it is that you are doing best and above all, for WHOM.
- Truly unique guest experiences, facilities and services that tell your OWN and above all NEW stories.