May 25, 2021
By Kim Campbell

Understanding and outselling the comp set is a vital part of any successful hotel’s sales strategy. Whether you operate a boutique select-service hotel or a booming convention center with four restaurants and 250 rooms, you need to know who your competition is if you want to win more business. Plain and simple. 

Do you know which hotels you're competing against? Do you know if you’re bringing in your piece of the pie? If not, you should!

In this post, we take a deep dive into hotel comp sets. We define what exactly a comp set is, explore how you can identify it, and provide expert tips and ideas to help you stay competitive and boost your sales.

What is a comp set?

“Comp set” simply means competitive set. The hotels in your comp set are the hotels that potential customers are comparing you against when choosing where to book. These are typically the hotels you're competing against in the immediate area, but it goes beyond that. For example: 

  • Which hotels are in your general proximity?
  • Which hotels around you are targeting the same corporate business?
  • Are any local hotels under the same brand umbrella as you?
  • Which hotels have pools, full restaurants, suites, etc.?
  • Which hotels have similar pricing?
  • Which hotels have the same star rating?

To get a clear picture of a hotel that falls within your comp set, you need to know everything: room types, suite options, pet policies, security features, guest laundry availability, and so on.

Let us help you identify (and beat!) the competition

How to identify your comp set:

For starters, list the key features and benefits your property offers and compare those to the benefits of area hotels. Focus on area hotels that are similar in size and offer similar amenities. If you’re a limited-service property that only serves breakfast and has 900 sq. ft. of meeting space, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to compete with a 500-room banquet and conference center, and that’s okay!

Successful sales strategies are centered on an accurate comp set breakdown. Take time and do your research. You can even enlist the assistance of other employees.

Assign each front desk team member a potential comp set property and challenge them to get as much detailed information about the property as possible. Reward the employee who provides the most detailed response, then have a sales meeting to discuss the results.

For example, pretend that you’re a corporate traveler. Which property in your area appeals the most to you? Is your decision based on reward perks, breakfast options, or physical proximity to the company’s location?

Or, look at each property as if you're engaged and are looking to reserve a block of rooms for your wedding guests. Which property details would you be comparing? Would lower rates be most important for your guests, or would shuttle service?

Imagine how different travelers would look at different properties. If they would rank your hotel against another property, it’s safe to assume that specific hotel is your competition.

7 tips to identify, and compete with, your comp set:

1. Use surveys to get honest feedback.

When you book a new group, provide the group contact with an optional survey early in the process. Ask about previous experiences in the area, things they loved about their last group stay, things they’d like to improve on, and so on. This will help the sales team identify booking patterns for repeat groups, as well as identify opportunities to really impress new guests.

2. Sign up for emails. 

Subscribe to all of your competition's email newsletters. 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.

3. Set up Google alerts for news on your competition.

Set up alerts for keywords that may help you uncover information about your competition. Consider utilizing search terms that include hotel names and keywords such as  "property development," "sponsorship," "Chamber updates," etc.

4. Read competitors' websites and blogs. 

Explore your competitors' websites each month and read their blogs on a regular basis. Know what they're offering and compare that to your own property. If you find an amenity that has become a unique selling point, don't simply copy them. Think of something else that will make you stand out. 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. Check out our post on hotel blog ideas for more on this topic. 

5. Monitor daily rates. 

Create a spreadsheet that lists each hotel in your comp set. Divide each hotel into separate sections. Each morning, evening, and night, track their rate, either by calling the hotel directly or checking online. 

You will start to notice patterns among your competition. Perhaps one hotel consistently drops rates in the evening in an attempt to capture same-day business. Perhaps another hotel stands firm until 10 pm before dropping rates by 30%. You will also be able to identify same-day price hikes at competing properties. This can identify which hotels are low on occupancy or may have picked up a same-day group.

6. Create packages to spark new appeal.

Look at your competitor’s websites. Do they have event or overnight specials available to book? Do they offer meeting packages, food and beverage packages, creative welcome baskets, or perhaps even a “romance package” that includes roses and champagne?

Create unique and affordable packages that will help you stand out among other area offers. Inclusive packages are a great option for properties that can accommodate events as well as overnight guest rooms. They are also a great way to showcase your brand’s unique perspective and energy.

7. Market online in competitive places. 

Your property should, at the very least, be listed wherever your comp set properties are listed. But it doesn't stop there. From researching the most popular hotel distribution channels and experimenting with ways to boost your hotel's digital marketing efforts to working with local universities and tourism offices to ensure that your property is listed in their marketing materials, maximizing your hotel's exposure is a key component to beating the competition.

CTA for 2021 Digital Marketing Guide for Hotels Ebook


Use Cvent to outsell the competition!

Cvent’s Group Competitive Set Dashboard allows you to get a real look at the big picture. It helps hoteliers benchmark their property's performance against the competition in real-time in order to make confident, data-driven, and transformative group business decisions.

Key benefits include:

  • Know where you stand regarding rank and fair share within your comp set.
  • See Performance Summary and Ranks with year-over-year changes and trending data.
  • Measure your sales team’s effectiveness in winning deals by comparing your key performance metrics against those of the competition.
  • View trending performance throughout the entire funnel or at a specific stage in the funnel over time.
  • Monitor your sales team's activity and performance.
  • Receive email alerts if your property falls behind the competitive set in important performance metrics.
  • And much more!

Learn how you stack up against the competition

Put this comp set guide to use today!

Understanding your competition will inevitably lead to a stronger sales strategy. More importantly, it will give you a better overall understanding of your market. The longer you analyze the actions of your competition, the more you will understand their strategy.

By knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your comp set, you will be able to create marketing strategies and pitches that highlight the ways in which your hotel outshines and out-services the competition.

Up next, discover nine proven strategies to help increase your hotel's occupancy

Headshot of Cvent writer Kimberly Campbell

Kim Campbell

Kim is a full-time copy and content writer with many years of experience in the hospitality industry. She entered the hotel world in 2013 as a housekeeping team member and worked her way through various departments before being appointed to Director of Sales. Kim has championed numerous successful sales efforts, revenue strategies, and marketing campaigns — all of which landed her a spot on Hotel Management Magazine’s “Thirty Under 30” list.

Don’t be fooled though; she’s not all business! An avid forest forager, post-apocalyptic fiction fan, and free-sample-fiend, Kim prides herself on being well-rounded.

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