Knowing Your Competition

"If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles." - Sun Tzu (Chinese General and Author, b.500 BC)

I have recently read a number of articles written by hotel sales and marketing experts extolling the virtues of knowing your competition better during these depressed economic times. While I agree with this thought, it has also been my experience that hotels must know themselves as well or better than they know their competition. Of even greater importance, hotels must embrace the idea that the competition is their enemy.

Hotels may feel using the word enemy to describe their competition is harsh, but I do not believe this to be so if you consider the following definition recently found on the Internet. The "enemy" is "one who is hostile to or opposes the purposes or interests of another (a foe, opponent)." This definition perfectly describes a hotelís competition.

It has been my experience that the Hotel Industry tends to think in relatively narrow terms when implementing a Mystery Shopping program. Hotels primarily apply Mystery Shopping to insure Quality Assurance for training programs they have previously put into place. Another use of Mystery Shopping is for hotels to understand themselves, the competition and how they compare to their competition.

Do you know what your competition is doing today verses what they were doing two or three months ago, or even two or three weeks ago? If not, Competition Mystery Calls can provide a better understanding and how you can best sell against them.

How do you compare operationally to your competition?

  • Number of rings into the hotel switchboard?
  • Number of rings into the sales and catering office?
  • Was the call transferred directly to the appropriate manager?
  • Was the manager reached on the first attempt?
  • Did other staff attempt to assist prior to connecting with the manager?
  • Was it a positive first impression overall?

How does your sales and catering department personnel compare?

  • How good are the sales skills of the sales and catering staff at your competitors?
  • Competition Mystery Calls will identify salespeople with superior sales skills so youíll know where to find a new sales and catering manager when you need one.

Do you know the room rates, catering prices and policies the competition is quoting TODAY?

  • What are the room rates being quoted over certain times of the year?
  • What are the meeting room rentals/setup rates?
  • What are the group and catering policies?

How does the competition SELL against your hotel?

  • What are they saying, if anything, about your hotel when it is mentioned as a competitor?
  • How quickly do they respond to an inquiry?
  • How aggressive are they- do they attempt to close the sale at the time of inquiry?
  • Are they outselling you?

As the title of this article says- "If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles" Competition Mystery Shopping Calls are critical to understanding the competition as well as yourself so your sales staff can sell effectively and win the battles.