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Competitor Analysis - How knowing your competition helps

Competitor analysis is frequently cited as one of the most overlooked tools in the hospitality business. However, this type of analysis, when used correctly, can be a secret weapon in terms of brand improvement.

There is very much a trend for keeping oneself to oneself in the hospitality business, blocking out distractions and focusing upon boosting profitability.

What many hoteliers don't realize is that by scoping out their local competitors they are giving themselves a significant advantage. In analyzing your comp set you can prioritize specific tasks to rise above the competition. 'Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer'.

Consider Target Audiences

In a 2009 competitor analysis by Marriott Hotels, the brand established that their website was targeting the wrong demographic. Focusing mainly upon business travellers, with few resources dedicated to leisure travellers, Marriott discovered that their comp set included much more of a leisure focus.

For hotels situated in business districts, or near airports for example, determining a target audience can be tricky. In examining how your comp set address their website visitors, hoteliers can amend their tone and content to appeal more to one sector over the other.

Take SEO into Account

SEO is big business, and any hotel that aren't using SEO are making a mistake. However, it's not enough simply to just throw keywords in wherever and whenever - SEO is only beneficial to a business when done correctly.

In checking out the competition, hoteliers can determine some common words and phrases that would benefit them. Take, for example, the word 'accommodation'. While being relevant to the hotel industry, potential guests are unlikely to search for 'accommodation in London'. They are much more likely to search for 'hotels in London'. Content analysis can help brands on their way to producing good SEO copy.

Determine Accommodation Rates

Rates are often determined by star rating, amenities, and location, but there's one more aspect that can determine a rate - competitors. Competitor analysis can accurately indicate your place in local rankings, giving a reasonable suggestion as to how much rooms are worth. For example, take a look at your closest competitor, and check their rate. Fix your rate at slightly more. Will guests notice that the two venues are very similar and opt for the least expensive option? Unlikely.

Studies show that, when presented with similar products, consumers will choose the more expensive. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the price hike makes guests believe the more expensive hotel is better. Secondly, it looks good socially to opt for the more costly option.

Competitor analysis is one of the most important tools when looking to boost sales and profitability. Rate shopping tools are available to make competitor analysis much simpler, quicker and accurate than ever before and are well worth utilizing.