How to Make the Most of Competitive Research

competitive research

Whether you run a hotel, marketing company or any business for that matter, knowing your competitors has become an inherent part of marketing strategy. It is crucial to learning how to position your business and allows you to get – and stay – one step ahead. How well do you know your competitors and, more importantly, what can you learn from their ideas and ways of conducting business?

 

Competitive research is not just about analyzing data, but using the knowledge gained to make your business stronger and more prevalent than your competitors. This can be a daunting task if not approached properly and dismissing your competition can cost you drops in rankings and conversions, loss in revenue, a bad reputation, etc.

Benefits of Competitive Research

The potential benefits of your analysis would include:

  • Understanding the market: No matter the business field, understanding the market in which you conduct your business is vital to the survival of your business. You need to know who are your competitors as well as potential competitors so you know where you need to position yourself within the market.
  • Tracking competitor pricing: You know your expenses and the mark-ups needed to make a profit but keeping an eye on your competitor pricing is an important part to factor into establishing your own pricing as well. You always want to remain a viable player within your market.
  • Targeting and reaching customers: Your research could help you find new tools and practices to better serve your existing customers. It can also provide insightful information on potential customers and help you create clear marketing plans to reach out to those new customers.
  • Forecasting potential sales: Through your analysis you can discover new opportunities that could lead to potential future sales.
  • Identifying problems: You can get a clearer understanding of things like why other sites are ranking higher than your own or what content you should be producing or how to better leverage pricing.
  • Reducing business risks: Making sure you keep track of things your competitors have tried and failed at will help you learn what to do – or not to do – for your own business and could potentially spur new ideas and business ventures out of those failures.
  • Building relationships: Through alerts you could set up mentions of your company (as well as your competition) and these mentions can be used as a basis for building relationships.

 

Getting to Know Your Competition

How do you conduct your competitor assessment and how can you use the information to gain a competitive edge in your market? When looking at competitors, there are no undercover spy rings used to sabotage your business rivals. Instead the research is meant to gather data to help your business learn what is the best way to improve your site rankings, gain customers, build relationships, improve customer service, spot new opportunities etc.

 

Now-a-days there is an abundant amount of information we can simply collect through the internet. A good start is to create an outline of general information like name, location, website address, products/services offered including pricing, weaknesses, strengths etc. Such a manual  search would also include running website audits, conducting a competitive keyword search and keeping an open mind to filter in new ideas and strategies.

 

Also, your search should not only include your current competitors but there should also be a consideration for those up-and-coming who might become a future competitor. You need to think that, once you show you can be successful, who will want to come take that piece of the market away from you?

 

When all is said and done, it makes it hard to compete when you have an awesome customer service philosophy and enforce those principals in your customer service staff. Their enthusiasm will become contagious and spread to your customers. Just look at Apple. Not only is the staff knowledgable of Apple products but, you could be in a crowded Apple store and still feel like all the attention is on you – as if you were the only one being serviced in the store.

 

Competitive Research Tools

There are so many competitive research tools available so you will have to carefully weigh your needs to know whether or not they stack up to what you want to achieve, the amount of time you want to spend on the research and at what cost you’re willing to absorb. There are market research groups that can conduct audits that include the likes of audience research, brand analysis etc and run reports for you but this option can become very costly.

 

If you can make the time to do your own research, you can sign up for free services to gather the information you need for your analysis. You can set Google Alerts, monitor RSS feeds, monitor Twitter by subscribing to competitor feeds for any mentions of your competitor names including their executives. You can audit competitor websites by browsing through it as if you were a customer paying attention to graphics, ease of use, load time and special pricing for example. You can even access public records for real estate, legal files or even financial records through the SEC database for public companies and state filings for privately held companies.

 

Regular Competitor Assessment

You not only need to know all your competitors, you also need to regularly assess your performance and compare it with your competition. In the vast ocean of online marketing, this will help you remain aware of things like new product/service offerings, new team members, sales wins and losses, promotions as well as keep track of sudden drops or improvements in rankings, get new product ideas, learn from competitor mistakes and see how you stack up against them as well as what you need to do to react to any changes found.

 

Nothing in business remains stationary for too long as economic and/or social issues will always manifest themselves. Such broader changes inevitably cause changes in the market and you need to adapt your business model to these changes to help your business grow and evolve. This is when you can reap the benefits of competitive research and ensure the survival of your business.

3 Ways to Market Your Hotel Wedding Space on Pinterest

Are you looking for ways to increase RFP’s for your Hotel Wedding Space? Read on and learn how Pinterest can help your hotel.

Did you know that 81 percent of brides-to-be admit that they begin planning their wedding on Pinterest before the big question is even popped?  For brides and grooms-to-be, Pinterest is the number one source when looking for wedding inspiration.

The image-based platform is the perfect way to engage with brides, where you can position yourself not only as a prospective venue option but also as a resource for potential customers. Since brides-to-be and grooms-to-be begin pinning and creating wedding boards much earlier than you might expect, it is crucial that you are properly marketing yourself on Pinterest, so you can serve as wedding inspiration for brides and grooms to be from the very beginning.

3 Hotel Marketing Ideas for Wedding Space on Pinterest:

Pin inspiring images that link back to your site: There is no shortage of high quality images and creative content on Pinterest, especially when it comes to weddings. Find out what it is about your specific location that sets you apart and dedicate a board to it.

However, pinning high-quality photos and inspiring descriptions is just one piece of the pie, or in this case, only one piece of the wedding cake. Every image that you share on Pinterest should link back to your home page or wedding venue page. This simple step is sometimes overlooked. Just as it is easy to get carried away when pinning beautiful content, it is just as easy to forget adding links to each of your images.

Include your location in your pin descriptions: Optimizing your pins by including effective keywords into your description will help to get your images to show up in Pinterest’s search results. Take it one step further by adding your location into your pin descriptions. People may be searching as specific as your town or as broad as a region, so keep this in mind when incorporating your location into both your pin and board descriptions.

Reach out and engage with others: Search for local attractions in your area and begin interacting with them frequently. This will help build trusted relationships while also allowing others to notice you. Re pin, comment and like interesting content that is relevant to you and you will begin to see an increase of traffic to your page.

 

Promote Hotel Content Marketing by Choosing the Best Images

They say “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  In today’s hotel content marketing no truer words have ever been spoken.  Images help to sell your hotel.  People will remember 80% of what they see versus 20% of what they read. The perfect image will resonate with the potential hotel guest who makes purchasing decisions based on the emotional connection to your hotel visuals. So how do you pick the best image to promote your content and relay your message?

choosing images hotel content marketing

When choosing an image, it’s clear that it needs to support your subject but it’s just as important to make sure the image captures the right feeling. For example, in trying to promote a hotel’s beachside activities, we can find a slew of beach photos but choosing the one that evokes the emotion ‘I want to soak in some rays on that beach at that hotel’ is what you want.

 

Creating images with an authentic feel allows the viewer to be there without physically being present. The best image choice comes when you entice the senses and provoke emotions. You want them to imagine experiencing that cozy bed, that pristine beach, that happening locale or that scrumptious looking dish at the hotel’s restaurant.

 

There are many online options for finding images to use in your hotel content marketing, and it’s all contingent on whether you have the budget to pay for it, the amount of time you have to invest in your search, whether or not you need a high resolution image and image sizing considerations.

 

What’s also important to remember is that images use a lot of data which can considerably slow down a page, not to mention wreak havoc on your site ranking. You will want to resize and optimize your images to avoid frustrating your hotel site visitors with a slow loading page.

 

Images are meant to support your hotel content marketing efforts and, if you’re looking to simply augment your hotel website, blog posts, social media content etc. then there might not be a need to look beyond your own hotel staff. With today’s smartphone technology, any one of your hotel staff can become an amateur photographer producing some solid photos of your property, activities or even local events and places.

 

The whole point is to capture the traveler in any stage of their travel journey through authentic, genuine images in your content. The emotional response you will get from your image choice is just as valuable to a hotel as the more traditional sales driven campaigns since it provides a spark that can fuel the discussion about your hotel’s values and culture. What type of images do you choose for your hotel content marketing? Choose wisely.