The Dish On the Niche: Tighten Your Focus and Watch Your Revenue Grow
By Andrew Freeman President, Andrew Freeman & Company | March 06, 2010
"Spray and pray" is so pass'e. Gone are the days of promoting yourself to everyone in the hopes of capturing anyone. With the advent of technology, the increasing presence of the Internet and the growing savvy of travelers, it's now possible - and necessary - to shrink your focus and target very select groups of customers. Niche marketing may mean going after fewer guest segments, but you may find these smaller groups are so much more qualified and loyal, generating greater revenue at a lesser cost as a result.
What exactly is a niche market? It is a small group of potential and existing customers who fall into very specific, well-defined demographics and psychographics. Rather than targeting everyone who needs a hotel room, for example, a niche market might be made up of female corporate executives who travel frequently for business and who look for particular amenities, services and locations convenient to their demanding schedules. If your hotel targets a niche market - and does it well - the group of customers in this market are more likely to remember you, continue to use you and also refer you to like-minded others.
Be prepared before you venture into a niche market. This is a point that cannot be stressed enough. No matter what your targeted group, spend the time and invest the resources beforehand to make sure your hotel makes sense for the niche market you are aiming to capture. You must ensure that your program is well researched, that you understand the buying and behavioral patterns of this group, and that the services, the amenities and the brand your hotel offers exceed the expectations of your targeted niche market.
Your Niche List. How Do You Start? You Gotta' Be Real. How Do You Launch?
You've done your homework. You've found one or two niche markets that appear suited to your hotel's brand. Now you want to develop an operations and marketing plan that go hand in hand with each other, both strategically and tactically, just as you would with any other initiative. Operationally, you want to implement those standards, services and amenities that truly benefit the niche market you're targeting, while your marketing plan includes attention to typical elements such as advertising, public relations, Internet marketing and evangelism marketing. In addition, some key points to incorporate:
Show Me The Money. How Do You Track?