Stand out from the competition using an USP

Why precisely should a corporate traveler choose your hotel? What exactly have you got to offer that is so different, so special? Your Unique Selling Proposition or USP will help you persuade business guests that your hotel is the best choice for them.

Text: Lois Hoyal // FOTOS: iStock / PR

If your hotel had a face, what would it look like? If it had a voice, how would it sound? If you’re easily able to answer those two questions then the chances are your hotel already has a well-defined Unique Selling Proposition (USP). If you’re still floundering about the answer, then think on.

Every hotel needs to discover and define what it offers that is unique and promote that it in their marketing and advertising efforts. Otherwise it’s becomes a faceless, bland non-entity that gets lost in the crowd.

“A hotel’s USP is crucial – it’s your face, your identity, who you really are,” says Jeannette Spits, CEO and founder of Amsterdam-based USP communications’ agency. “Your USP is all about your uniqueness, what makes you stand out from all other millions of hotels around the globe. A hotel needs to make clear who it really is and define its DNA. And a solid USP is becoming more important as the number of hotels grow and executive travelers are faced with more choice.”

Possibly the best way to define your hotel’s USP is by talking to guests and finding out how they’ve experienced the hotel and what benefits they see. After all, an USP needs to be something that will affect the end-user, in this case your guest, and improve his or her life personally, and immediately.

The most common USPs are location, comfort or value. Or a concept combining those three. Guests aren’t necessarily interested in staying somewhere that isn’t the best, the cheapest or conveniently located.

What guests aren’t interested in is insipid statements such as “excellent service”, or “friendly staff”. Those aren’t unique. Those should be a given.

Your marketing campaign

Once you’ve figured out your USP, your marketing campaign should be easier to configure. It’s important from then on that your USP should serve as a guideline for everything you do, from your service, to the design of your hotel, to the furniture you use. It could be that your USP is about being female-friendly, offering facilities such as well-lit parking spots close to the hotel entrance and rooms close to the elevators that appeal to female executives. Equally it could be about your hotel’s top location close to the city center, railway station or a trade fair. The choice is up to you. But whatever USP you choose, communicate it consistently and continuously and integrate it into your entire business, says Spits. “Shout it out loud in everything you do, from your social media to your marketing to everyday communication.”

Comfort and value

So what is a specific example of a hotel with a good USP?

Bricks Hotels, a new Bavarian-based chain of initially five hotels, has defined its USP as “hedonistic sustainability” – sustainability that improves quality of life and human enjoyment, or in other words puts the pleasure into being green.

 

“Our motto is life feels good!” says Alexander Herold, Bricks Hotel project manager. “It’s about enjoyment without remorse, about simplifying your life, limiting yourself to the important things, about the well-being and happiness brought by slowing down.”
The hotel chain aims to put its guests’ happiness first and help them relax. This includes little touches such as a selection of retro board games, like Ludo.

It also endeavors to be eco-friendly, notably in terms of transport, including storage rooms for bicycles, charging stations for electric vehicles, free and discounted provision of e-bikes and bikes and discounted network cards for public transport.
Moreover, it offers an eco-discount in the final bill for guests who use housekeeping on demand to clean their rooms and change the bedding, thereby keeping those variable costs down.

In addition, The Bricks has positioned its USP in the market as a “trendsetting hotel in the convenient economy segment”, perhaps better understood as premium economy - known in the airline industry for its mix of business and economy class. “The share of typical budget hotels in Germany is currently at only 10%. A low percentage compared to France (57%) or Great Britain (30%),” says Herold.

With such a well-defined USP, Herold hope that The Bricks will soon attract many business travelers. As he says, “the success of a hotel is directly and decisively dependent on the satisfaction of its guests.”

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