The Sales & Marketing department plays always a very important and fundamental role in hotel management, in order to keep up with the daily and international struggle with competition to get local and international business into the property.
A brief description of the physical attributes of the competing hotel or restaurant. Emphasize good points as well as bad. Determine such things as when the product was last renovated, plans for upgrading in the near future, physical facilities and all features that compete with yours – that is, the product/service mix. The description includes quality and level of both tangible and intangible features, personnel procedures, management, reservation system, distribution networks, marketing efforts and successes and failures, promotions, market share, image, positioning, chain advantages/disadvantages and so on. All of these items will be important in the final analysis. A physical description – number of rooms, meeting space, F&B outlets and so on – is simply not enough.
All strengths and weaknesses need to be addressed.
Who are their customers? Why do these customers go there? Are they potentially your customers? Part of the marketing plan will focus on creating demand for your product. Most of the plan will focus on taking customers directly from your competition. It will be difficult to take customers from your competition if you do not know who these customers are. In a restaurant situation, for example, do your competitors have a high volume of senior citizens eating at traditionally quiet times, a group that you desire? Does their lounge have a successful “happy hour” that could augment for your lounge and, if so, what type of people go there? Does your competition hotel have a higher percentage of transient guests than your own? What particular market segments does the competition attract?
Where is your competition in relation to price? While F&B prices are relatively easy to obtain, the product delivered for the price is also important. Is their sirloin steak for the same price as big as yours? During a actual competition survey, in going there, dining at the outlets, it is of prime importance to bring a long a check list in order to compare and analyse these points right thereafter. It is important to compare “apples with apples”. Published guestroom rates are easy to discover, negotiated prices can be obtained through purchasers.
It is important to determine if there are any new projects that will affect your competitive environment in the future. This information can normally can normally be obtained from the chamber of commerce or local media. The fact that a new 300-room hotel is scheduled to break ground soon, is very important for the development of the marketing plan. Likewise if the building houses a major FB competitor which is scheduled for demolition to make way for a new office building, this may also influence your decision making process for the following year.
Competition is all relative, it all depends as well on the radius where hotels/restaurants are available. “Where else do/might our customers / potential customers go?”