The tourism and hospitality sectors have experienced a difficult and inconvenient pandemic. While other industries have focused on successfully managing a remote team, it felt like the lights had been switched off in March 2020. Overnight, customers disappeared from airlines, travel companies, and local hospitality businesses worldwide.
As Jessica Day from DialPad says in her recent article: “It was a shock to the system that, in truth, is going to take years to recover from.” And, in some locations, things don’t appear to be improving anytime soon.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Over this challenging time, resorts and hotels have had to become more responsive to market trends.
Many establishments have implemented robust revenue plans due to the introduction of sites like Airbnb. These sites have given travelers considerably more power to scrutinize the value proposition of accommodations.
As is typically the case, new possibilities emerge from these shifts. Day believes that if your resort or hotel falls on the right side in terms of value for money or experiences, you’re going to do better than ever before.
And one of the most effective strategies to achieve this goal is to create a unique selling proposition or USP.
What Is a Unique Selling Proposition?
Simply put, USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition. It’s a phrase bandied around in business terminology for decades. It refers to the one-of-a-kind feature (or features) of your hotel or resort that, when properly utilized, can give you a competitive advantage.
The most visible benefit, or indication that it is working, is increased revenue. But, depending on the type of enhancements you want to make, it can also boost sign-ups for mailing lists, subscribers to a specific site, or social media engagements.
Day makes several recommendations on building the most effective USP for your property now that you know what it is.
1 Core Factors for your USP
Understanding the fundamentals of a USP and how to construct one is an excellent place to start. However, you first need solid foundations that allow you to be creative on top.
The core parts of a hotel’s USP concentrate around three critical characteristics:
While the “ideal” nature of any of these features is based on a consumer perspective – some people will always want to be closer to the beach, for example — every resort and hotel should strive to meet a standard in all three areas.
It’s also true that just a few locations may claim to be unique in all three categories. But, as XXX says, much is down to luck, especially when it comes to location. While being outstanding in all three of these areas is nearly impossible, being distinctive and unique in at least one and adequate in the other two is the bar for a successful USP. And it also makes reputation management much more straightforward.
Consider transportation options and areas of interest near your resort or hotel when looking at location. For example, are you surrounded by excellent shopping options? Or are you near a well-known country walk?
Consider the hotel’s finishes if you want to put greater focus on comfort. For example, are your beds super comfortable? Is the ambience in your bar and restaurant inviting? Are there any difficulties that your staff have resolved swiftly and to the satisfaction of your guests?
And, if the price is your primary factor, don’t fall into the trap of simply being the cheapest place to stay in your surrounding neighbourhood. This focus may turn off some customers.
So, if you’re charging more than your direct competitors, make sure you have a good reason for it. These small additions, whether in the form of more pleasing accommodations, better cuisine or a coupon for a nearby tourist destination, can boost the experience that you provide to your customers.
2 Competitive Advantage in the Market
As previously stated, a USP is all about highlighting a couple of things that you excel at as a hotel or resort. A prospective customer will typically compare the extent of this excellence to hotels that provide similar services — in terms of location, pricing, and luxury.
This comparison doesn’t have to be reactive. You can also proactively use this. First, investigate your competitors who provide a similar experience to you and see how you stack up. Then, determine how you perform against these criteria by understanding the needs they address for their clients.
If you think you’re already a step ahead of the competition on these fronts, then use it in your marketing materials. If your study reveals areas where you can improve, make the necessary changes and focus your advertising on these new features.
3 Target Audience
It would help if you analyzed your target audience and your competition. This should be self-evident, given that these are the guests or owners who could potentially be spending money with you. However, the reality is that far too many organizations overlook this critical component when developing a USP.
The majority of the time, this is because resorts and hotels want to appeal to as many as possible. “After the eighteen months we’re all currently emerging from, who can honestly blame them?” asks Day.
In many respects, however, a better understanding of your target demographic and a marketing plan that reflects that understanding can be more profitable for a company. For example, why have 10 per cent of the population when you can have 80 per cent of a whole demographic?
This establishes you as the go-to venue for this group of people and increases the likelihood of repeat business. In addition, people will understand that they can have their dream vacation with you, which may not be possible elsewhere.
Running surveys with existing guests or asking customers to write reviews is the easiest method to accomplish this. Make these are about why they opted to stay with you and what aspects of the experience they would change.
By creating a data set around this, you can figure out what people think you’re offering and whether you need to change or customize your hotel more to this type of customer. Again, customer experience management software can help you with this.
Promoting your USP is just as vital as the USP itself. After all, you might have the most tailor-made stay for a specific group of guests, but if no one knows about it, you’re unlikely to see any positive results.
As a result, selecting how to best get your message out there is an important decision. It can mean the difference between unlocking a goldmine and sinking into obscurity.
A hotel or resort that wants to cater to a mature customer should use more traditional advertising like billboards, radio, and television. However, if you sell experiences related to a specific interest, such as golf, consider running advertisements during golf events.
If you’re trying to reach a younger demographic, influencer marketing or investing in a screen sharing tool to give virtual tours of the property could be more effective. This is where the bulk of that demographic learns about vacation opportunities.
5 Refine and test your USP
Finally, given the fast-paced nature of today’s corporate world, it’s critical to keep things current and adaptable. For example, contact centre analytics are beneficial for companies with customer service departments. A similar approach can be applied to your resort.
Following the launch of your USP, you should continue to evaluate its effectiveness to measure its success.
Be confident in making changes if you discover areas where the message isn’t coming across as intended.
If you’ve built a USP for your property, you should be able to adjust and refine components in the short and long term. This not only establishes you as an understanding business, but it also allows you to keep the advantages you’ve established through your competitive value analysis.
Finding advantages in your value proposition is more important than ever in this chaotic post-pandemic world. While the fundamentals remain the same, how you construct a USP must adapt to the times and the demographic you target.
Now is the time to develop a unique selling proposition for your resort or hotel that is not only effective today but will continue to be so in the future. When almost everyone is looking for a wonderful vacation, leveraging this with a killer USP could be the key to your future success.