Knowing who you’re up against is half the battle won. According to research, correct positioning against the right competitors can bump up the success rate by 50%. But how do you identify your competition set?
What is a comp set?
Before we define it, let’s define it.
A ‘Comp Set’ is a selection of other, competing hotels that you group together when creating your competitive study, based on relevant, specific selection criteria compared to your property. These criteria could be location, service and quality, event organization capacity, leisure facilities, total number of rooms for large groups, among other things.
Think like your guest
To identify your competitor set, you need to think like your guests. Visit an OTA and see how the guests will rate you against other properties with a similar location and facilities. Where do you stack up against their requirements?
Some ways you can understand your competitors better are by doing a Google search comparison. Look at various keywords when doing this research. For example, if you target business travellers, search for MICE and other related links for conferences.
Your competitor selection
1) Identify properties by star rating
Select the top four competitors with the same star rating as yours. Add to this, three higher star categories and three lower star ones the objective is to add a good mix of higher and lower-priced properties.
The lower-priced competitors provide a guide to rates you need to drop to when you want to use their customers to fill any shortfall in this category. In peak season, when you should ramp up your rates, the higher-priced (higher starred ones) serve as a reference for how much the guest could pay when making a comparison with the higher category.
2) Identify by room category
This analysis could potentially take months but is important to do. In most cases when you monitor competitors, you make a comparison across the lead-in category. However, as inventory count across both properties may vary, this is not always a fair match. Besides some low prices may exclude breakfast or similar services, so not always a direct match.
3) Identify by property category similarities
City hotels, wellness resorts and theme park hotels are some common categories for hotels. Identifying a competitor in the city can be simple, but other categories such as wellness and resorts are not that easy to understand and gauge. However, there are some OTAs few as they may be set beyond the city or province to cross country. Choose wisely to the closest category possible.
4) The expected gains
So, you’ve spent considerable time researching your comp set and applying appropriate strategies. What are the benefits?
Applying the competitor in the star rating will allow OTAs to set a benchmark to find out how your property performs across key metrics such as booking pace, sales, customer insights, booking window and price performance. This helps you understand your standing against competitors.
By further setting room category, you will benefit from a better analysis on performance such as availability by allotments, promotions or channel sales, cancellation policy, refund policy, etc.
Add to this a layer of setting by property type and you can gain users who are browsing by Property Type (e.g. Top wellness resorts, top city hotels, etc).
This article is written by Guest writer Irvine Loo originally published in STAAH’s New E-Book.
About the Guest writer
Irvine Loo has more than 18 years of professional and business experience in IT software, project management, CRM, loyalty management and consultancy. Currently, he is serving as the director of digital marketing for Berjaya Hotels & Resorts in Malaysia.