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.