Your Hotel Competitor Set
What really are your competitors? Let's talk about the Hotel Compset!
Identifying a hotel's competitors can be more complicated than expected. But what is technically a Compset?
Simply the list of competitors that we will use as a reference on the destination. The literature on the web on this subject is, as is often the case, varied and discordant and I am already convinced that, even on the single definition I have given above, many colleagues will turn up their noses.
Some schools of thinking firmly maintain that watching what our supposed competitors do and being influenced by them is a mistake with disastrous consequences.
This theory is based on the correct concept of "typicality and uniqueness" of the situation: in essence, what your competitors do is certainly or probably dictated by their situation, which is almost certainly different from yours.
Up to this point, the reasoning works. Where I begin not to follow the reasoning is when the same professionals as before talk about how to use price leverage to generate demand. It's fair to ask, then, why identify a Compset and start aggressively levelling prices to those competitors, if the circumstances that produce your competitor's rate "x" may be different from yours.
As is often the case the truth is in the middle.
Even if only to avoid living with blinders on, I think it is necessary to have a Compset that contribute to the correct positioning of your Hotel in the market. If you realised that you were selling your hotel with swimming pool and spa at the same price as a nice guest house that was always full, the suspicion of doing something wrong would legitimately creep in. Of course, if the landlord has more facilities than us, a better location and maybe even a well-crafted pricing strategy, then the questions are bound to increase.
But how do we identify the right Compset for our hotel?
Certainly, the first thing to consider is the main target of our hotel: comparing an Adults Only Hotel with a family resort would not make much sense (like saying: apples with apples, pears with pears). Consequently, after having more or less profiled our typical client, we can proceed with an initial screening of our potential competitors.
The next step will be to reflect critically on the factors listed below in order to correctly delineate our Compset.
Location and Rate Competitors
Limiting the identification of your own Compset to structures located in the same destination or area can lead us into error: in fact, a potential guest is not always looking for our exact location. Perhaps they are looking for our area and, if there is a hotel not far from us that offers the same services, has a similar reputation and perhaps a price range compatible with ours, then it can become a competitor, even if it is not in our immediate vicinity. We just never considered it...
Hotel services introduce an important topic: OTA filters. Leaving aside the concept of Dynamic Ranking, filters are a feature that is used a lot by our guests: if it is imperative for my stay to have a SPA in the Hotel, by using the corresponding filter, my search will be oriented only to establishments that correspond to those characteristics. Of course, if our Hotel doesn't have a SPA we can't do anything about it, but it is equally true that the correct configuration of OTAs is often overlooked and it happens that services are not listed simply because of carelessness or superficiality. So, after having checked the list of our services, we use the most common filters applicable to our structure, thus restricting the number of competitors.
In the composition of our compset, the sentiment of our competitors will have an important weight: we try to identify the structures with a reputation similar to ours and, obviously, we take the opportunity to evaluate possible improvements. But reviews are also a determining factor in determining sales prices: it is no secret that our guests are willing to pay more for a property with a better sentiment.
Policies are a very important current topic: for months now, the OTAs have been pushing the structures in the direction of super flexible policies, highlighting the concept that a guest is willing to pay a higher rate but have more flexible cancellation conditions. Obviously, the problem of having rooms that have been unnecessarily occupied up to 72 hours beforehand will fall, for the most part, on the hotel's accounts. But this is another matter. However, we must pay attention to the policies of our Compset because, especially in this particular historical moment, they can have a significant influence on the performance of our hotel.
Another decisive factor in the evaluation of a Compset is the visibility (or ranking) of our supposed competitors.Organic visibility depends mainly on how much we invest: website, SEO, marketing, social and sentiment are some of the most important aspects. As far as OTAs are concerned, the matter is more complicated. In addition to the algorithm that decides our ranking within the Compset, various strategies come into play which, if used well, will certainly maximise the chances of conversion of visits to our hotel. However, once you have decided to use these channels, you might as well optimise their performance to your advantage!
Of course price is always a factor in determining a choice. But it is not an equation: believe me. If we have the right pricing and marketing strategy, good visibility and, above all, manage to tell a story to our potential guests, price, in the leisure segment, will often take second place.
If you liked the post and would like to discuss this topic with one of our consultants, please do not hesitate to contact us!