Did you know that on average, leisure travellers evaluate around 4.4 property websites before booking? That means for every possible customer looking online, you’re competing against several other properties. But do you know who your competitors really are?
First, it’s important to understand that your property doesn’t necessarily compete with all other properties in your specific location. People looking for low prices will seek out low prices, and those looking for luxury will seek out luxury. This means that if you want to stand out against your real competitors, it’s crucial that you understand who they are. A group of accommodation providers that are in direct competition with your own accommodation is considered your competitive set, and should be your go-to reference point when it comes to carving out your own niche within a clearly defined market.
Step One: Look in the mirror
Before compiling your competitive set, first have a think about your own property by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. Start by answering these two questions:
- What do you do better than anyone else?
- What could you improve?
Tip: if you find it hard to think objectively about your property, start by going through your property reviews and make a list of all the positive and negative feedback to identify what themes exist.
Step Two: Identification
Now that you have a good understanding of your own property’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to turn the spotlight on your competitors. First, make a list of the properties close to you – if you’re in the countryside, then you’ll have to look slightly further afield than city properties. Then expand your search, adding more competitor properties – if a large number of your guests are a particular type of traveller, identify what other accommodation providers are catering to this group.
Tip: you don’t need to limit your search to the internet – ad hoc conversations with your guests about other accommodations they considered can uncover competitors you wouldn’t expect. Alternatively, you could formalise your research by adding the question to your guest survey.
Step Three: Evaluation
Now that you’ve identified some potential competitors, it’s time to put your instinct to the test. Evaluate each competitor on a range of features that makes sense to you. In your analysis its helpful to include a comparison of:
- Star rating
- Size of property (total number of rooms, conference facilities available)
- Location (use a popular attraction as a reference point, e.g. 4km to town square)
- Average rates in both high and low season
- Review score on Booking.com
- Dining facilities (restaurant, breakfast)
- Services (free WiFi, free parking)
- Leisure services (gym, pool, day spa)
- Overall experience (quality of decor, staff expertise)
Step Four: Narrow it down
Next, narrow down your group of competing properties to those which have similar features to your own: things like facilities, star rating and price range. What remains should be a group of between 10 and 12 properties: this is your competitive set. You now have a specific point of reference for new, relevant opportunities. This list can save valuable time and keep your focus on the properties that are really capable of affecting your sales.
Step Five: Keep up to date
Once you’ve identified your competitive set, always keep an eye on what they’re doing. Here are a few ways to keep up to date with your competitive set:
Subscribe to their emails
You’ll find out what features they are promoting to guests and how often they are communicating with them.
Keep an eye on their website
Schedule an hour a month to check your competitors’ websites and blogs. If there are certain facilities they are promoting heavily, think of what you can offer to outmanoeuvre them.
Follow them on social media
See what topics they’re posting about, but more importantly what their guests are engaging with the most. If a Spa Package is getting a lot of likes and positive comments, is there something you can promote that provides more value, or a more unique experience?
Learn more about RateIntelligence
This free rates tool allows you to choose up to ten properties in your competitive set, and helps you keep track of their prices.