Experience vs. Price

Debbie pointed me to an interesting article today, Building a De-Commoditization Strategy in Hospitality. It's a bit long, but there are a number of good takeaways, namely...

  • Stop competing on price
  • Differentiate your hotel from your competition with unique offerings
  • Use a different approach with different audiences

I wholeheartedly agree. But, the article also goes on to offer some fluff like this...

"Creating unique specials and packages, event-related getaways, seasonal promotions and other marketing initiatives that provide unique value to the customer should become an important aspect of the hotelier's de-commoditization strategy"

Sounds like something I'd find in my college marketing book. I think providing unique value goes a lot deeper than creating interesting packages and seasonal getaways...

  • First...you need to be different in order to have something unique to offer. And, I mean different in a very real way...including the cake, not just the icing. That takes heavy doses of design, story and care. A unique design gets attention, extraordinary hospitality makes people feel cared for and a compelling story makes it easy for people to spread the word. Unfortunately, most of the package offerings I see are little more than a creative pitch to hype an otherwise mediocre experience...not much different from the next one.
  • Second...get small. Even if you have a large hotel, find ways to break it down into smaller pieces. You'll do a better job of providing hospitality, it will be easier to manage, and you'll have a much better chance to serve niche audiences.
  • Third...clearly define what you want to be (up front) and make a valiant attempt to serve one audience. Hopefully, you choose what you can be the best at. And, that something is different...not slightly better with a cheaper price.
  • Fourth...surprise the guest with an unexpected experience. Give everyone more than what they hoped for. Consequently, the more you hype, the less this works. Stop hyping, and start doing. This is a big part of your story...what gets talked about. So, make it count.

The key point of their entire article is to focus on the experience vs. the price side of the value equation. And, it's an excellent point. The missing caution is to make sure you center your attention on creating something truly remarkable vs. packaging and selling it.

Oh, and contrary to their opinion, creating a unique selling proposition isn't at all easy.