Winterfell Tours at Castle Ward
Defining your unique selling proposition
Pinpointing your USP often requires some soul searching and creativity. You must think like your customers think. Who are they? Why do they choose you? What more could you offer them? Who else is doing what you do and how could you be more unique?
Questions to ask yourself:
To analyse your business, it is helpful to start with the following questions:
- Which of my products / services are performing best?
- What is my average spend per customer?
- Which markets / segments are generating most revenue for my business?
- What proportion of my customer base is repeat business?
- During which times of the year does my business perform best / worst?
Keep an eye on trends
It also helps to have a general awareness of the changing trends in the tourism industry and to see which trend resonates both for your business and for your type of customers.
- You are an accommodation provider offering holiday cottages set within a beautiful natural area You have become aware of the trend of ‘glamping’ and the rise of eco-friendly and eco aware customers.
- Your customers want something different - to get close to nature and wildlife but don’t want to give up on any modern luxuries to do so.
- This is how Finn Lough in Fermanagh developed the Bubble domes within the resort.
Economic and legislative trends also have an influence on your business and in turn - your customers. For example, how would a significant change in currency exchange rates impact on your regular customer base? Or how would a change in legislation open new opportunities or, conversely, limit your tourism product? By keeping up to date with current affairs, trade press or e-newsletters you can generally keep informed on any key trends. However, for the more detailed analyses, TNI undertakes regular research to monitor and evaluate visitor trends and industry trends which is available on tourismni.com (link added here?).
Tools to help to define your USP
Tool number 1: SWOT analysis
Think about the strengths and weaknesses of your key competitors to establish where there is room for innovation or growth. What do you do better than your competitors? What do they do better than you?
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Step back from your business and carefully scrutinise what your customers really want. What would make them return again and again to your business and ignore your competition? The answer might be quality, convenience, reliability or customer service. Remember, price is rarely the only reason people buy.
Remember to consider the opportunities that lie at your doorstep. What can you utilise in your surrounding area to add depth to your product offering? Does your business share a story with an iconic attraction? Is it located in an area of natural beauty? Is there an annual music event that you could tie in with?
Tool number 2: Listen to your customers
Another way to develop your USP is to listen more to your customers. What do they love about what you offer, why do they choose you? Ask your customers what they would love to do that you don’t already offer? By engaging in this way, you will discover quickly what is your USP – from their perspective which will give you valuable insights.
Tool number 3: Be unique, be passionate and target your audience
You are not trying to appeal to everyone. When you try to please everyone – you end up being bland and pleasing no one. The goal of your USP will be to connect strongly with some people and not to others.
- Narrow your target audience.
- Narrow what you offer – be specific
- Combine your business with another idea that you know a lot about and feel passionate towards.
By connecting with a smaller audience your influence can spread more quickly and you will be passionately and authentically true.
An example of a company who has harnessed the power of targeting an audience through a unique offer and combining many of these tools is Winterfell Tours at Castle Ward