A few days ago, an old friend called me with a problem. “A new competitor just opened nearby. They are taking my best customers and destroying my rate. How do I overcome this? Do I need a new website? Social media? Some ads? Help!!!”
It took me a few minutes, but I eventually calmed him down. “John. None of that matters. The game has changed. Now you need to change. But your problem isn’t your advertising… it’s your audience!”
What John’s property is experiencing… what many properties are experiencing today… is involuntary repositioning. Plain and simply, his best customers just re-positioned themselves right into the new competitor’s lobby, and it’s unlikely that they will be coming back. John now has a big hole in his occupancy and the remaining room nights are dragging his ADR into the cellar. To make matters worse, his desperation is resulting in soliciting even more of those low-rated room nights. It’s a vicious spiral.
“John! It’s the cars!”
The solution to this problem, believe it or not, will be automotive. Another friend of mine is fond of saying, “We’ve got to change the cars in the parking lot!” Well THAT’S exactly what John needs right now – – a new batch of cars – – a different [better-caliber] audience, not more of the same.
Of course I was being sarcastic when I said automotive. The real solution will be repositioning. This means location of a viable, optimal new audience, and identification of specific wants within that audience that will lead to an effective modification of the product. When this process is done correctly, the resulting product will be distinctive in the market and sufficient to create preference. In the end, it’s truly all about the [right] audience.