According to Entrepreneur®, positioning is “how you differentiate your offering from that of your
competitors and then determine which market niche to fill.” Why is it important? Because positioning creates differentiation, which is vital to driving preference, market share and bottom line growth. The key to asuccessful position is determining what you have that is:
- Ownable (unique to your destination that no other has claimed or can steal from you)
- Relevant (of interest, given the current and future market)
- Desirable (attractive and compelling to your prospects)
- Deliverable (the promise of value that you can consistently deliver)
It’s not a miracle cure, but a strong position can support decision making, customer
service policies, communications strategies, and provide a foundation for successful
marketing to attract visitors and regain market share.
Start with an inventory of your assets and liabilities
The process of repositioning an underperforming destination, resort or attraction
begins by taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Make a list of your
- Assets (what to keep): all the good things you can build on
- Liabilities (what to lose): anything that detracts from your success
- Opportunities (where to grow): what to pursue, expand or add on
Assets and liabilities aren’t always what you would expect. Physical property, buildings, destination features, even natural features and climate can be assets, but they can be liabilities also. And don’t forget to consider intangibles like goodwill, public perception, customer experiences and past press coverage (good and bad). All of these things could be assets, liabilities OR opportunities.
For those on the inside of the business, it’s especially important to try to look at your destination from the consumer’s perspective. Many marketers take stock of the features or attributes they have to sell or promote, and attempt to create a position around them. The problem is that many of those attributes (a ski lift, a beach, a restaurant, activities for kids) aren’t all that unique. A lot of places have beaches, don’t they? Features and attributes, while important to your destination’s offerings, are not meaningful points of differentiation.
With a clear picture of your destination’s plusses and minuses, and an understanding of what you’re really up against, you can begin the repositioning process.