Market research is the cornerstone of the marketing process for your Caribbean hotel, resort, tour operator, or restaurant. Market research should be conducted on an ongoing basis as you may need to change your strategic plan and positioning as competitors enter the market, the travel climate in general changes (ex: the effects of Brexit on Caribbean tourism) or as new facilities, experiences, and amenities are introduced to your property.
Part of effective market research is conducting an environmental analysis. Your environmental analysis will construct a ‘map’ of where your business is and will help you move to where you want to go. An environmental analysis looks at the following factors: sociocultural, demographic, economic, technological, political & legal, competitive, and ecological.
While all of these factors should be considered the one that you can get started on right now via mystery shopping and some good ‘old-fashioned’ website and social media browsing is ‘competitive.’ When determining how to position your hotel’s marketing messages, whether to open your dream Caribbean beach bar, where your ‘island by land’ tour should go, or even to decide whether to hire a marketing firm you should look at your competition.
Here are 7 questions to ask when researching at your competition:
- Who is the competition right now?
- Who will be the competition in 5 years?
- What are the strategies, objectives, and goals of your competitors?
- How important is a specific market segment to each competitor?
- What are the strengths of your competition?
- What are the weaknesses of your competitors? (aka: what makes them vulnerable)
- What effects are your competitors’ strategies having on you?
Once you’ve used these 7 questions to examine your competitors, ask them of your own tourism and hospitality offering – and be honest with yourself!
The answers to these questions will help you not only conduct market research and map out where you are in your local and regional industry, but the answers will also point you in a direction that shows where you need to go as a Caribbean tourism and hospitality business.4