To maximize your hotel's success, you need to know who you're up against. More specifically, you should be regularly keeping tabs on:
- Who your competition set includes.
- What they are doing.
- How well they are succeeding.
Consistently monitoring your hotel competition set can alert you to trends in the industry, offers that successfully increase group bookings at hotels, ways to boost revenue, and campaigns that don’t work. Overall, information gathered from your competition can help you point your team’s energy and hotel marketing efforts in the right direction. Smart hotel marketers take a proactive approach to looking and listening for key insights into their competition. Here are nine ways you can keep close tabs on your competition.
Sign Up For Their Emails
Subscribe to all of your competition's email newsletters - bonus points if you can find one they send to planners. You'll find out how they're using emails to stay top-of-mind with their guests and how they're driving direct bookings. Plus, you'll see any of their specials, promotions, and news. Pay close attention to their calls to action as well.
Network With Them
Taking part in local Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (SMAI) industry mixers is a great way to get the scoop on what’s working for your competition and what’s challenging them. I'm a board member of the San Diego chapter and have gleaned so much of my industry knowledge from those face-to-face events. Be sure to do more listening than talking.
Cvent's competitive set reports help you gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of your sales process by looking at a few of your competitors (don't worry, they're kept anonymous). These are based on data, so there's no guess work. This will help you understand the benchmarks you should reach for in terms of RFP pace, turn downs, etc. Interested in one? Talk to your Cvent sales rep for more information.
Unveil SEO Tactics
Are you confused about why the hotel down the street is showing up higher in search results? There are several keyword tools online to find out. The simplest way to find out what SEO your competition is employing is to View Page Source (right-click on the competitor's homepage, then click on 'View Page Source'). Looking inside the <head> tag shows you that hotel's title tag, meta description tag, and keywords for that one page. These are what they're trying to rank for in search engines. Other keyword tools include SPYFU and Google Keyword Tool. Use this intel to boost your own SEO campaign.
Find Out What Groups They're Booking
Like the rate monitoring programs mentioned earlier, regularly checking reader board services provides insight into your competition set all in one place. Reader board services such as Readers or Newmarket Meeting Intelligence can provide data specific to group sales activity, so you’ll know what groups are booking in your area and how often.
Subscribe to STR Reports
See which specific properties are within your competition set and how you measure against them in an STR report. Rating factors in an STR report can also tell you where to focus your future hotel marketing efforts. An STR report is updated regularly, so keeping an eye on it can fill you in on new competitors in your competition set and their performance.
Read Their Website & Blogs
Explore your competitors' hotel websites each month and their blogs weekly. Know exactly what they're offering and compare that to your own property. If you find an amenity that has become their unique selling point, don't simply copy them (though start offering what they are). Think of something else that will make you standout. Look at their packages and how they work to market your destination. If the hotel has a blog, see which posts get the most traction and use that to inspire your hotel's content marketing efforts.
Set Up Google Alerts
Let Google Alerts help you keep tabs on what everyone in your competition set is doing. Set alerts to go off whenever competitors post press releases, get media coverage, and run promotional campaigns. You can learn what kind of hotel marketing content garners attention and what falls flat.
Follow Them on Social Media
Likewise, watching competitors’ social media channels is important. Check out when and what they post. The responses their content receives can provide valuable data into what kind of content your hotel should be posting on its own channels and when.
Written by Junvi Ola.