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Online Birds
Apr 26, 2023

Hotel positioning - The art of not pleasing everyone!

According to an analysis by Franz Hartl, former managing director of the ÖHT (Austrian Hotel and Tourism Bank) and lecturer for tourism management at the IBS Institute, there are some revenue emperors among Austrian hotels that achieve up to five times higher revenues than the Austrian average for companies in the 4- and 5-star hotel industry.

The most striking reason for this large yield difference of some hotels is the clear positioning of the high-yield hotels. According to Hartl, 85% of these are geared toward one target group.

The primary goal of positioning is to help a brand, product or service achieve a stand-out individuality. Especially in saturated markets with high competition, as is the case in the hotel industry, positioning is very significant. It is about standing out from the crowd and convincing and retaining one or more target groups with individual unique selling points.

Guests choose hotels based on experiences and benefits. For business travelers, for example, a 24-hour reception, an easily accessible location and practical aspects are important, while holidaymakers prioritise a well-developed wellness area and a cozy atmosphere. The hotel must therefore define its target group(s) and provide guests with a reason why they should go to your hotel and not to a random competitor.

Another advantage of a clear positioning is that services that are individually tailored to customers tend to be more expensive, as the target group-specific hotel services stand out from the competition and are therefore more difficult to substitute.

Step by step to the right positioning

For new hotel projects, positioning is an essential part of the planning from the very beginning and is taken into account in all planning steps. But even as an existing hotel, it is essential to regularly question and define its positioning strategy.

How this can best be done, we reveal in the following steps

  1. Determine the actual situation:

In order to determine the actual situation, an overview of the guests and target groups should first be obtained (travel intention, age, budget,...) . Through the continuous maintenance of a CRM system, this can be realised without problems. In addition, it should be reflected and determined which target group(s) one wants to focus on, what one is already doing for them and whether one wants to further sharpen the guest profile if necessary. The results of this process can be recorded and presented in the form of a classic SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).

  1. Internal communication of the positioning

Just as important as the external communication through marketing measures is the internal communication of the positioning to the employees. They are responsible for communicating the positioning to the outside world. For example, addressing holidaymakers works differently than addressing business travelers. Whilst holidaymakers may want feel more at home and enjoy a feel-good atmosphere, business travelers might consider discretion and functionality important.

  1. Integration into the (online) marketing strategy:

Once the profile of the target group(s) has been sharpened at best and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and potential threats of the positioning have been derived, the positioning can be integrated into the (online) marketing strategy and concrete measures can already be derived.

A clearly defined positioning is the basis for all marketing and online marketing activities. All measures should be aligned with the positioning. In online marketing, for example, it is important for all types of ads to derive the appropriate keywords from the positioning strategy in order to place targeted advertising. Furthermore, the right positioning is important for addressing guests on social media. Many practical examples show: Success and a clear profile on social media go hand in hand.

  1. Further development and control

The target groups as well as their needs can change quickly in a volatile world. Therefore, it is important to constantly question the needs, values and ideas of your target group and to adapt your positioning and marketing strategies accordingly. In addition, it is worthwhile to take a look at the competition in order to ensure one's services as well as the associated individuality.

The most important tips summarised for you

  • Be authentic!
    Find a positioning that suits your hotel and your staff.
  • Be courageous!
    Make a decision and stand behind it. There are no wrong decisions
  • Be creative!
    Take your time to work out your special features. It will be worth it
  • Be patient!
    Above all, positioning takes time.
  • Be consistent!
    The right positioning should run through your business like a red thread
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