Never before has the hospitality industry seen so many transformations as we have in the past 5 years: new business models like Airbnb, greater competition, more hotels, more brands, less resources but greater costs, greater bargaining power of the customers, OTAs and many, many, more.
You would have thought that new challenges get tackled with new strategies, new innovations and an improved way of doing things. You would expect hotel professionals would now, more than ever, focus their efforts on developing their skills, particularly in digital.
And yet, after years and years of managing various hotels I was still frustrated to find myself in a commercial meeting, listening to my Sales and Revenue Managers describing the very same tactics they have used for so many years to “steal” business from competition. Going around competitors’ car parks or lobby spying are only two of the many tactics that are still often mentioned proudly by the functions as a proactive approach to “bring in more business”. The trouble is, these tactics do not work anymore! Think about it, when was the last time you actually saw a real result from a car park walk?
A new way of doing things is needed! We have neither human resources, nor the time, to continue to do things the way we did. Indeed, it’s increasingly important to recall Pareto’s law and focus on the 20% of the actions that will deliver the 80% of our results. And yet, we still focus on the 80% that will deliver the 20%. We do more but we get less.
In SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) terms the technique is called competitor backlink analysis and it refers to analysing the links that other websites are placing to our competitors websites.
How did it work for us in practice?
We recently conducted a backlink analysis of our main hotel competitor, clicking on all the links that were listed by the tool. Please see below as an example of what a backlink analysis typically looks like (through a free tool called Webmeup.com):
On the left hand side you will find a list of the websites that are effectively recommending your competitor website (by linking to it). Clicking on one of those links took us to the website of The University of West London.
You can see from the screenshot above that the university is running courses in the area and all our competitors have been listed and recommended on the university page, apart from Hotel 55!
We have already contacted the university to request they add us to that page so that we can benefit from the additional exposure!
Walking the car park, you would never in a million years identify this lead!