Are You Managing Your Competitors or Are They Managing You?

By John Manderfeld President, Marin Management Inc. | May 06, 2010

Can you really manage your competition? Well, you can certainly manage your competitive relations and the impact your competitors have on your business. And, in good times and bad, there are ways for you to always come out on top.

Start by being realistic about who your competition is. Too often we like to flatter ourselves by imagining that we directly compete with hotels far more luxurious and packed full of more services than our own. A guideline that I use is that if a nearby hotel's rates are usually within 30% of mine-higher or lower-they are a direct competitor. And that means I need to treat them as a competitor.

Here's how with seven ways to manage the competition:

1. Build strong relationships with your competitors. Know that your competitors are not your enemies. In fact, they can be your best friends and your most active source of customers. Other hotels can send you more customers than any other single source. Treat your competitors with respect and consideration. Don't fight over the small things.

I knew a hotel executive who did not talk to a competitor for years over one hiring an employee from the other (and a couple even less important issues). The result: thousands of lost room nights from referrals.

Building strong business relationships is more than just an occasional friendly telephone call or lunch. Do something with the leaders of your competing hotels-go to a ballgame, entertain them for dinner or play a round of golf. Let's face it, when you cannot accommodate a single guest or a large group, you refer the business to someone you like.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.