To survive in a world where customers are overwhelmed by choice, hotels need to identify a unique differentiator.
The hard truth is this — it’s the key difference between thriving and failing in business.
Whether you run a hotel chain, an inn or a B&B, your unique selling proposition serves to set you apart from your competition. The strength and relatability of your USP can make or break your business, so it’s crucial you leverage its power and make it the foundation of your overall marketing strategy.
Now that uncomfortable reality is out of the way, let’s dive straight into how you can establish and hone your hotel USP.
When your potential customer searches for a hotel, they weigh up the pros and cons across three primary categories: location, comfort and value.
Ideally an irresistible USP will incorporate all three points, but that’s a difficult ask to pull off. But more often than not, a hotel will be entirely unique in one category and fair in the other two.
In this case, you can still be desirable and drive people to your hotel by putting all your focus and efforts into one positive benefit. And then rave about it across your marketing efforts.
Let’s look at this in more detail…
Is your hotel close to a main attraction? Are you opposite a train station with direct links to the city centre?
Consider your target market and what matters to them. If your ideal customers want a busy city break, push your proximity to the shops, cafés and bars. If they want a quiet retreat to the countryside, communicate your prime location for country walks, wildlife and cosy local restaurants.
Use your location USP to your advantage across all your messaging.
Does your hotel have luxury king sized beds? Perhaps an onsite restaurant and bar with an inviting log fire? Or do you have a home-away-from-home vibe?
People search for hotels with the best facilities, location and aesthetics within their price range. How does your hotel uniquely deliver comfort and how will this USP make their lives better?
These are the kind of questions you need to ask yourself.
This doesn’t mean you need to be the cheapest hotel around. The real question is how can you save your guests money?
Can you offer an added value proposition over your competitors? Perhaps a bottle of bubbly on arrival or a voucher for an evening meal?
You don’t have to be the best hotel in the world or the cheapest to compete — you simply need to consider if you’re giving value for money. Could you find a better hotel at a lower price in the area? If so, what can you offer to make your proposition more appealing?
What kind of person would choose to book a room with you? Write down what you already know about them and consider why they make those buying decisions.
How do similar hotels meet their needs and what kind of benefits are your customers looking for? For example, luxury or basic, modern or traditional, just somewhere to sleep or an all-inclusive experience.
Speak to your customers, colleagues, friends and family and make a list of all the reasons why someone might use your hotel, as well as what kind of personality traits they have.
A USP needs to communicate one or two things you excel at. It needs to deliver and even surpass expectations and be a distinctive offer not accessible anywhere else.
No pressure then!
Look at your competitors and uncover the needs they meet. Then on a scale of 1–10, jot down how well you feel they meet those needs.
Now look at the one or two elements you’re really good at. Are you already better at meeting the needs of your target market? If you don’t clearly outshine your competitors, how can you enhance your offering to make it more appealing?
We all need feedback to find out what we’re doing wrong, or even doing right. Only when you analyse your ideas will you be able to define a USP that works for you.
Establish a strong concept for each of your USPs. Write it down in one or two lines max. Set up a brainstorming session with at least 10 ideal customers and get their thoughts on how these new USPs will position your brand.
A few questions to ask your focus group:
Your USP should be conveyed across your marketing strategy and drive the development of your business. Every decision you make from your logo to your social media presence needs clear definition, and should actively promote the benefits you offer through your USP.
Three ways to communicate your USP