What makes you different? What gives people a reason to choose your particular trip over the next operator’s? In marketing lingo, your special difference is known as your unique selling proposition (or USP). It’s a concept most know of but few fully understand.
A lot of operators focus only on the product they’re selling in their advertising. ‘Visit the Ryan Falls!’ they’ll say, while five other operators are saying the exact same thing.
If someone were to ask your typical customer why they chose you, what words would they use? That’s your point of difference to that person, regardless of whether you decided to do make it so.
‘Oh, I went with the cheapest one.’
‘They have some really interesting tours.’
‘I chose the one that has the lunch included.’
‘They all seemed the same to me, so I just picked randomly.’
‘I like that they have multiple tours. Less hassle!’
‘I went with this woman who seems to have a few secret “ins” around the area.’
‘My mum is disabled, and I went with the only company that could take her wheelchair.’
‘I don’t know. Bob just seemed nice.’
Without a clear point of difference, you could well have great success, but it will be more difficult. When people ask their hotel or hostel reception for a recommendation, do you spring to their mind? Or is the hotel receptionist giving four brochures out and saying, ‘Well, they’re all more or less the same…’
Having an obvious point of difference is one of the biggest keys to avoiding ‘race to the bottom’ price wars.
The easiest way to create a unique point of difference is to have a unique product. Segway tour companies are a perfect example of offering a completely different experience. While Segways are definitely awesome, you don’t need to go that far. Think about not just your product but what makes your business inherently special.
Segways are also a weakness because your unique difference is out of your control – someone else could create an imitator.
Take the example of Hidden Secrets Tours, a walking tour company in Melbourne, Australia. From all external appearances, they seem to be going well and have glowing reviews across social media.
They could have called themselves something boring like ‘Jade’s Melbourne Walking Tours’. Just having a name like ‘Hidden Secrets’ draws me in and explains their point of difference in seconds. They seem like experts who will show me interesting places that I would never have found on my own. Sign me up now!
The result? They have a high ranking on TripAdvisor and are swimming. You may be wondering – did this give them the ability to avoid price wars? Heck yes it did! Their tours are not cheap! This is the difference a great point of difference can make!
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