Are you? If not shouldn’t you be spying? In a healthy way of course – not the James Bond cloak and dagger stuff.
How else will you learn what they are up to? And learn from their best practices?
So if you decide that you ought to be monitoring what your competitors may be up to, then the following ideas may help:
- Follow your competitors on Twitter (if you are worried about them noticing your presence, you can manage that by adding them to a Twitter list). This will give you an idea of the promotions they run, the type of followers they have and more.
- Go to a keyword research tool like Spyfu – You can go to SpyFu and type in any website and see every keyword that they’ve ever bought on Google.
- If your competitors send out newsletters, make sure you sign up for them to understand what they are telling their customers
- Go the old fashioned way – walk into your competitor’s hotel lobby once a week or so and study the conference and event boards to learn about companies who are hosting their events at that hotel. You can never learn enough.
- Monitor what guests are saying about your competitors on TripAdvisor – specifically the aspects that the reviewers consistently rave about. This can help with your own product development and service.
- Monitor their rates using solutions like Rategain especially if you are in a city location with a large inventory – it can compare rates from hotel sites, OTAs, and GDS’s. Many channel managers now also offer a bunch of rate comparison tools.
- Another option is to use STR reports; however, they offer very little advantage in emerging destinations especially in Africa.
What else can you think of? And what tactics do you employ to monitor your hotel’s competitors?