You’re a businessperson – a hotel manager, a travel agency owner, a restauranteur. Chances are, you’re familiar with the term USP, aka unique selling proposition or unique selling point. Your USP is your competitive advantage or winning difference. It’s what makes your travel business stand out from the competition: it’s that special something that makes you, you. It fulfills your guests’ emotional needs.
Your slogans, headlines and taglines – all that witty, fun stuff we spend so much time creating – are all secondary to your USP. Simply put, your USP defines the direction and flow of your website and marketing materials. Your USP is the heart and soul of your business.
How to Define Your Travel or Hospitality USP
In the hospitality & tourism industry, every business has a USP. It could be your location or your services or your price. Think about it this way: what do you provide that is so special or so valuable that your guests would book based on that offering alone?
Admittedly, this isn’t always easy to do. You love your business. Your hotel is the best at everything; your travel agency only books the safest, the most adventurous, the most iconic; your restaurant sources the highest quality ingredients. In your eyes, there are many factors that make your company incredible. How can you choose just one?
USP vs. Amenities
Right now, I’m working with an incredible luxury villa in Costa Rica. This place has serious Wow Factor: it’s an architectural masterpiece surrounded by rainforest, where endangered squirrel monkeys play over the infinity pool and you can hear the crashing waves of the Pacific from anywhere in the villa. There are two – count ’em, two! – concierges: one pre-arrival and the other onsite, to attend to your every need. There’s a bar on almost any level and, oh yeah, the onsite concierge doubles as a bartender. It’s the area’s most perfectly designed wedding venue. There’s a massive ballroom with spectacular teak flooring. It’s one of those properties that almost sells itself.
Except everything I just mentioned is either an amenity or a service – not a USP. Your business can have many, many amenities and exceptional services, but it only has one USP. (Unless it doesn’t – see below!) Punto de Vista, my villa client, is located in a popular tourist area, where other luxury villas also offer concierge service, monkeys, infinity pools, and rainforest locations. So what makes the property is its all-in-one appeal: it offers the privacy of a villa, the luxury of a five-star hotel, and the amenities of a resort – all wrapped into one breathtaking villa.
Having Multiple USPs
See up there, in bold, where I said that your business can have only one USP? That’s true but it’s not. What I should have said is, your company can have only one USP per target audience.
Let’s go back to Punto de Vista. The villa is marketed as a venue for weddings, family gatherings, corporate groups (incentive travel), and wellness retreats. Their website is broken down into separate sections for each of these audiences. It stands to reason, then, that the villa markets its USP differently to each target guest: what is most important to a bride-to-be may not interest a business owner searching for her next corporate retreat. Long story short: tailor your USP to your audience. If you have multiple audiences, then you can have multiple USPs. Just keep it to one USP per audience, please.
So tell me: What makes your property unique?