Dear Reader,

Finding your hotel’s GPS

Skeptics would argue that a hotel is a building, an inanimate structure, something that doesn’t move, so why does it require a GPS or directions?

Each hotel has its own personality and, some say, a soul since it’s developed, nurtured, and sustained by people. It is a composite of those who designed the building’s interior and exterior, staff members who service the guests, and marketers who promote it. All of their combined efforts transform the building into a living organism that, if correctly crafted and articulated, becomes a magnet for people who want to be there and spend money.

While easily said, defining and articulating a hotel’s positioning statement is difficult, and sometimes hotels try to adopt a persona that is incongruent with how the customer sees them. This often results in guests not returning since it is unsettling when the experience differs from the imagery, messaging, and design elements conveyed (to name a few). Even details like the employee uniform and how the phone is answered need to support the hotel’s identity.

Hotel positioning statements factor in:

  • Location
  • Building design if interesting or significant
  • Primary target market that the hotel would not succeed without
  • Key hotel feature and the corresponding benefit to its target customer
  • Point of differentiation from competitors as viewed through the eyes of the guest

Getting the customer’s input is critical for this exercise to be fully effective. At one positioning session I facilitated with the hotel team, the on-site washer and dryer was suggested as a unique selling point, yet during the customer focus-group session, it wasn’t mentioned at all, making it irrelevant to the customer.

For new hotels starting with a blank piece of paper, the process is similar and includes the identification of market gaps or niches that are currently underserved by existing hotels and have the potential to be capitalized on.

When a hotel has a clearly defined position in the marketplace and a strategic direction that supports how it is going to achieve success, it has the foundation to leap-frog over the competition in sustainable financial and STR performance.

“If everybody is doing it one way, there's a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly in the opposite direction.” 
― Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club

If you would like to learn more about how to find your hotel’s GPS, simply reach out to Jo-Anne at jo-anne@jhhospitality.com

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