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 high, and simply perform in an outstanding way?
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: successful hoteliers know exactly WHO they are. They have a defined concept and position themselves clearly in the market.
What is hotel positioning?
A hotel’s unique selling proposition is known as its market position. This is the argument to convince travelers to book this particular hotel instead of someone else’s property. The position comprises the bundle of attributes that the hotel offers in an effort to meet guests’ wants and needs.
The Keys to Successfully Positioning Your Hotel
The travel industry is changing. It’s no longer enough to provide a clean room, Wi-Fi and breakfast. Travelers want an experience, and experience starts with an authentic brand. Positioning is essential for distinguishing your hotel from all the others. Also, because travelers have different needs, developing an identity for hotel marketing strategy is a must for targeting specific clients and encouraging guest loyalty. With these 4 steps, hoteliers will find success in brand building and creating an authentic culture for their hotel marketing strategy
- Figure out who you are. It all starts with a story. Begin with your backstory and then extend that into a distinct hotel brand personality with clear values, purpose, and messaging. Decide what you want your hotel to represent, and the type of clients you want to reach. Use these target niche markets to channel and develop your brand.
- Do market research. It will help to determine which attributes travelers consider in choosing a brand and how they view a hotel brand in light of those attributes. From that information, you can apply discriminant analysis to develop a «map» of the brand’s position as seen by its customers. Hotel might offer a luxury-level package o f services and amenities in an effort to attract business travelers, for instance. If the resulting room rate is higher than corporate travel managers are willing to pay, that brand is in reality not positioned for business travelers. Instead it may attract only those who are price insensitive or luxury-oriented leisure guests. Another example, if a hotel has positioned itself as the most effective and efficient conference hotel in the market, customers will expect their meetings to occur flawlessly. Should that not happen, the hotel’s position – from the customer’s point of view – will in reality be «an okay conference hotel» or worse.
- Use effective public relations and marketing. First, narrow down your target consumer or client. Market to the areas and platforms they are most active on. Seeking millennial travelers? Engage on Instagram and Twitter. Seeking new B2B clients? Use your convenience zone, LinkedIn, traditional marketing and strategic press releases. By targeting your niche market with your key message development you will ensure brand awareness for your hotel.
- Set expectations correctly. Hoteliers wishing to build and maintain a strong reputation must not only pay attention to how they market their brand, but also ensure they set expectations correctly, and deliver on those promises once the guest arrives. Guest experience must align with expectation. It’s better to be completely transparent, sometimes even highlight limited amenities rather than exaggerate them to ensure that guest expectations are in line with the experience.
- Be consistent. Travelers are loyal to branded hotels because they promise a consistent guest experience across the portfolio regardless of the city or country they are located in. Consistency is also important for independent hotels in terms of delivering on expectations. Consistency builds trust with travelers and is reflected in online reviews and post-stay feedback, which have a direct impact on bookings and revenue. Be consistent with your marketing strategy, and key message implementation. Be diligent in your efforts to instill company values across all locations, employees and platforms. The effort and the time will pay off.
Creating brand awareness and building an authentic brand culture takes time but it’s essential for hotel brand survival. Your decision on the positioning will virtually decide everything you do to market your hotel – from the website to the sales brochure. Be true to what you promote, believe in your hotel message, and be passionate about the experience you create for travelers.