- Website Content – Explore the competitor’s website. Look at what promotions they are running and what deals they are offering. You can find great ideas for seasonal packages as well as ensuring you’re offering the best deals. In addition, you can see what information the site offers readers such as things to do in the area, events, etc.
- Reviews/Reputation Management – Read guest reviews about your competitors on channels such at TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc. Utilize these channels to explore what customers like and dislike about other hotels and make sure your hotel follow the right direction.
- Social Media – Take note of how the competition is taking advantage of social media. Do they have presence in Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and other social media channels? Do they respond to comments quickly and are they writing engaging posts? See which channels are generating a lot of buzz for your competitors and make sure that your hotel has presence there as well.
- Local/Hyperlocal – Look at whether or not people are checking-in to the competing property. See if they have deals tied to checking in through Facebook or Foursquare. Are their strategies gaining them more check-ins or local saturation in Google Places?
- Linkbuilding – See which directories your competition is listed under. Strong link building can benefit a site in a couple of ways: driving traffic and gaining site relevancy. Look to see if there are any directories and sites that you have overlooked when linkbuilding for your own site. There are many tools out there, which can assist you in running a competitive link analysis.
- Paid Search – Research and see what paid campaigns your competitors are running. Are they running banners and PPC campaigns? Which keywords are your competitors bidding on?
In conclusion, conducting a competitive analysis is an effective method to evaluate your own site’s promotional strengths and weaknesses. It is also a great way to find new ideas on how to further drive the success of your site. But beware, just because your competitors are lacking in an area, does not mean you don’t have to participate in that channel. A successful site constantly looks for new ways to saturate all the channels and build their online presence to reach potential customers ahead of their competition.
Contributed by Steven Lieu, Jr. Internet Marketing Specialist