I enjoy reading Seth Godin’s blog. He of the Purple Cow fame. One of his recent posts was titled “Delighting the Weird“. The essence of it is differentiation. Not just performing well, but also doing things that nobody else does.
The Antlers finds itself in a fun but challenging position as an independent property, competing against some awful big companies. Our neighbors include the Marriott, Four Seasons, and Ritz Carlton. Even our main condominium competition … Lionsquare, Montaneros, Manor Vail, Landmark and the Vail Spa are managed by Wyndham, Destination and East-West Resorts. Each of those companies have portfolios that make the Antlers look like a gnat.
So the name of our game has to be differentiation. If we try to compete against those big guys as just a well run commodity, we’re toast.
Free, unique hotel amenities
So what do we do to be unique? How about free, unique hotel amenities? Well, stuff like not collecting resort fees sets us apart from most of them. That’s nice, but it’s not THAT unique. Surely there are others who do the same. Aren’t there?
No, what’s REALLY different? How about a free GoPro camera loaner program? Now we’re talkin’. Free snowshoe rentals? Yeah, baby. Maybe a minivan for our condominium owners to use when they’re here. Again, one of our free & unique hotel amenities.
Under the heading of “Playing to your strength”, our guests have always told us how much they appreciate our well-equipped kitchens. Okay, time to amp it up … now we have a small appliance loaner program (free) with everything from waffle makers to toaster ovens to full on mixers. If your condo doesn’t have something you need, say the word … it’s on its way. While that doesn’t qualify as bizarre, I’m pretty sure it’s not something those other guys are doing. Happily, that effort also falls squarely in line with our motto of, “The answer is ‘yes’, now what’s the question?”
We’ll continue to brainstorm at almost every one of our staff meetings about what we can do to set ourselves apart … to delight the weird. Of course, we’re always open to suggestions, too.
The best part is that although it’s challenging, dreaming up stuff like this and then implementing it immediately (corporate red tape? No thanks) helps make this a really fun place to work. We hope it makes it a really fun place to stay as well.