Over the past several weeks, we have discussed various tactics and tips for positioning your hotel for success in 2015. From utilizing an advanced hotel PMS to enhance daily operations to establishing action-oriented performance goals, hoteliers should be taking all the necessary steps to ensure a successful 2015. In continuing this discussion, we now want to look at how assessing your competitors can greatly benefit your hotel.
With the effort and time needed to successfully operate a hotel, some owners and operators focus the majority of their attention on managing within their “4-walls,” leaving only a fraction of their time to investigate the external factors impacting their business. To help time-strapped hoteliers look beyond their on-property responsibilities, we have provided a few tips for assessing their competitors and determining how well their property is positioned in the market. 2015 is predicted to be a record year for the hotel industry, so as a partner to hotel operators across North America, innRoad is committed to helping our clients achieve the success they deserve.
Evaluating a competitor’s hotel PMS and website
Investigating the systems your competitors use to manage operations and capture reservations is a valuable leaning opportunity. In most cases, you can identify a hotel PMS by visiting a property’s website and going through their reservations booking process. If a hotel asks potential guests to “Call or email front desk for rates,” it’s likely that they are not using a sophisticated hotel PMS or any system at all. If the property is utilizing a hotel PMS that allows for online bookings, you can usually identify the system and technology vendor by looking at the footer of their reservations webpage for a graphic or text that states “Powered by” or “Operated by.”
With this information, you can gain perspective on how your competitors operate on a daily basis. Discovering that some properties utilize labor-intensive manual management methods or rely on older-model hotel PMS’ to manage the guest experience may be an indication that the hotels are not very operationally sound. To validate your findings, research consumer reviews on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp to see how guests rated their experience. If it appears that operational shortcomings are hindering your competitor’s progress, you now have an opportunity ramp up your business and position your hotel as the go-to destination in your local market.
Understanding a competitor’s global distribution strategy
Identifying your competitors’ global distribution strategy is another important tactic for understanding how they operate and attract guests. The research process is easy, simply select a group of leading online travel agents (OTA), such as Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline and Hotels.com, and search for the hotels in your local market. Depending on the hotels that populate in the search results of a specific OTA, you will be able to determine if a hotel leverages that channel to target travelers.
Since there are many OTAs in the marketplace, searching across a large sample will yield the most conclusive results. With your findings, you will be able to compare how your hotel’s digital strategy stacks up against others in your market. Additionally, paying attention to their property descriptions, photography and special offers will help you understand how your competitors drive their business, as well as provide you with tips for enhancing your own listings.
Conversely, identifying competing hotels that utilize advanced hotel PMS technology, including fully integrated features and a web-based platform, and leverage a robust global distribution marketing strategy provides you with valuable information on which hotels will provide the greatest challenge to your success in 2015.
The exercises above are designed to provide hoteliers with greater insight to the strengths and weaknesses of their business. If you are a current innRoad client and see opportunities for improvement in your hotel, please contact your dedicated implementation manager or anyone on our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’re new to innRoad and would like to learn more about our hotel PMS technology, contact us at 1.855.inn.road or info@innRoad.com. Let innRoad guide your hotel to a prosperous and successful 2015.