August 25, 2022
By Cvent Guest

A hotel USP, or unique selling proposition, is one of the secret ingredients behind a successful brand marketing strategy. As hoteliers, you need to understand the specifics around what attracts guests to your property, or what will attract them to it in the future, in order to align sales and marketing spend. Not to mention hitting those revenue goals

In this blog post, we discuss the importance of hotel USPs, provide actionable step-by-step advice on how to create one, share real-life examples, and answer frequently asked questions.

Learn how to create a hotel USP (and so much more) with this guide

Having a well-defined hotel USP distinguishes you from your competition. It also allows your company to hone in on your target market and tailor your messaging to reach them despite all the noise. 

Whether you're writing a hotel USP from scratch or editing an old one, we take you through the process step by step. 

Creating a hotel USP in 6 steps

1. Perform competitive analysis

A competitive analysis is a process that involves gathering information about current competitors or businesses known to be in development. The goal of a competitive analysis is, ultimately, to improve sales and marketing efforts by finding gaps in the market others aren’t currently filling.

This is especially important for those in hospitality. With more opportunity and more competition as time goes on, it's important to stay ahead of the curve and develop an effective hotel USP now before your property or brand gets lost in the shuffle.

As you take a deeper look at your comp set, make sure your team is able to answer the following:

- When people travel to your area, what will attract them to your competitor’s property or brand instead of yours?

- What offers are your competitors forgetting or unable to add?

- What are your competitors doing to satisfy your ideal guest?

- What can you be doing better to draw a customer’s attention back to your property?

Consider these questions and more as you analyze at least three to five of your biggest direct competitors to find your hotel USP.

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2. Pinpoint your target audience

If you haven’t already, you should identify your target market by identifying the types of hotel guests who frequent your property.

To help get your creative juices flowing, make a list of your VIP hotel clients. Or, simply create an example marketing profile and make one up. Include list items such as:

- Name

- Age range

- Reason for travel

- Average length of stay

- Average hotel budget

- Biggest pain points when it comes to hotel stays and booking

Give them a name and background, and don’t skimp on the details. Once you’ve created this individual, start asking deeper questions. Why are they choosing your hotel over your competitors (see analysis above)? What are you doing to meet or exceed their expectations?

These answers will help you determine the hotel USP factors that are within your control.

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3. Consider your location

You hear it time and time again — location, location, location. When it comes to the hospitality industry, location will be a monumental aspect of your business. But just because your hotel location is fixed doesn’t mean you can’t take a fresh look at what aspects of your location may be a plus when weighed against other options nearby.

Consider your hotel’s proximity to different points of interest. That will include anything from landmarks most first-time visitors seek out to locals-only hotspots guests would want to know about to public transportation depots within walking distance.

Even if there is a hotel directly next door to yours, we promise there is something different about your side of the block. You just have to look for it.

Feeling stuck? Go back to your target demographic and see what aspects of your location will be valuable to this individual.

For example, suppose your ideal customer is a middle-aged couple looking for time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In that case, you may highlight that your property offers multiple dining options and a pool so guests can enjoy all the comforts of vacation without having to leave the building.

In other words, consider what makes your location ideal, whether that's proximity, convenience, or anything else your ideal customer cares about.

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4. Maximize comfort

If you’re completely stumped about what to make your hotel USP, focus on comfort.  Regardless of the price range, all hotel guests are seeking comfort. And no matter what accommodations your offer, you can always make them more comfortable with a few simple upgrades.

For example, you might have luxurious bedding that is so good you also offer an online retail store for them like Staypineapple does. Or you might have a smaller bed and breakfast where guests can cozy up next to a log fire while sipping on hot tea. Whatever it is, consider highlighting even one extra unexpected or luxurious moment of comfort for your guests in your hotel USP.

5. Define your value

Guests are paying hard-earned money to stay at your property. So, while you don’t have to have the cheapest rates on the market, you do need to provide value that matches your costs. Use your hotel USP to define what value you provide over the competition.

But what is the value, exactly? At a hotel, it can take the form of many different things. From valet service to an onsite spa to breakfasts made to order, the possibilities are endless. Think about it from your guest’s perspective and remember to creatively brainstorm around values that guests already have access to.

6. Get direct feedback

We here at Cvent are big fans of market research. This is why we advocate for direct communication with guests as much as possible. Use focus groups, surveys, guest satisfaction questions at check-out, and even those smiley and frowny face button stands to better understand what made your hotel stand out enough for guests to book it.

A lot of it may come down to price and availability. But going beyond these obvious answers to discover common threads, personal stories, and guest's favorite features will make all the difference when coming up with your hotel USP.

Expert tips to help you define your hotel USP

Now that you’ve been led in the right direction, it’s time to develop a hotel USP of your own. Be mindful of these expert tips as you begin the process.

1. Craft a bundle. Hotel SA publisher and founder of Boylen+, Tim Boylen, told Cvent that “Where you can’t lay claim to a (single) USP, hotels are best served by promoting a series of selling propositions that, when combined, nearby hotels can’t compete with. Hotels that take a bundle approach need to excel at marketing, or else the strategy will fail."

2. Use multiple profiles. Hotel Marketing Manager Matea Šragalj wrote to Cvent via email to provide this tip: “From my experience, hotels rarely have one persona. I always advise creating at least three with different backgrounds.”

3. Workshop it with employees. Šragalj also said, “What worked for us before is that we would, together with the hotel employees in Sales, Reservations, and Reception, organize small workshops where we would try to create unique taglines for a hotel that we would use in campaigns.”

Hotel USP examples we love

If you’re looking for some inspiration, take a look at four examples of slogans and hotel USPs we love that cover everything from activities offered onsite to emotion-based marketing.

1. "The Caribbean’s Most Entertaining Beach Resort." Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St. Thomas offers an extensive menu of both on property and off property resort activities in the area ranging from snorkeling around shipwrecks to live local music performances.

2. "Come Feel Perfectly at Ease." The Reefs Resort and Club in Bermuda offers a hotel USP entirely built around relaxation and comfort. From a welcome rum swizzle to daily afternoon tea and the secluded location of the resort, everything about the advertised experience feels calm and inviting.

3. "Create Treasured Times." The Somerset on Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos is family-friendly and builds many of its offers (bicycle rentals, horseback riding, etc.) around making memories with loved ones.

Frequently asked questions about hotel unique selling propositions

1. How do you write a hotel USP? To write a hotel USP, you must first thoroughly research the competition. Then you’ll need to pinpoint your target audience, consider your location, and receive feedback from guests.

2. How do you structure a USP? Your USP should be in active voice, short (a sentence or two), and focused on an idea or theme.

3. How does a hotel determine its USP? A hotel can determine its USP by analyzing current offers and comparing them to what nearby brands are offering, as well as customer feedback.

Start putting this hotel USP guide to use today!

Up next: Need more inspiration? Check out our hotel marketing strategy guide for 12 essentials to succeed.

Cvent Guest

Cvent is a market-leading meetings, events, and hospitality technology provider with more than 4,000 employees, ~21,000 customers, and 200,000 users worldwide.
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