Business Professional Avi Goldstein on How to Differentiate Yourself From the Competition
Every highly successful business has its own unique story. Some were positioned for greatness at the outset, backed by limitless capital and name brand notoriety. Others had to scratch and claw to even get off the ground. What unites them all — to secure that upper echelon of achievement — is that none can afford to play it safe. Risk taking is part of the game. And in doing so, decision makers can only put in the time, commit to the research, play to their strengths, and pray.
As the CEO and founder of HotelRooms.com, Avi Goldstein knows this journey well. Today, he is seen as a pioneer in the online travel industry, but there was a time when all he possessed was a domain name and a dream. Since that time, HotelRooms.com has prospered enormously due to its unique market position and now serves over thirty-thousand hotels globally. As an experienced entrepreneur, Avi Goldstein provides his best tips on how to stand out from the crowd.
Know the Consumer
Avi Goldstein likes to say “The consumer is yourself.” He does not discount the benefit of market research, focus groups, and customer feedback, but he also knows that, when it comes to vacations and travel, we all share similar expectations. He tells his staff to ask themselves, “When you choose one product or service over another, what factors do you consider? Envisioning yourself as the consumer can help you gain insight into how we should position our service in the marketplace.”
While all CEOs want to keep an eye on the competition, Avi Goldstein explains that he primarily looks inward. If his internal machinery is solid, he believes the market will respond favorably, regardless of what else is out there. For this reason, Goldstein is constantly developing and fine-tuning his brands, growing his customer base, and optimizing his services. He does this by reflecting intently on his own analytics. He stresses how important it is to stay true to the original vision that helped you get there in the first place. Let your personality come through in everything you and your team do, as this will naturally separate you from the competition. From packaging to branding to strategy, the decisions you make as a company will be a reflection of the team that built it.
Understand the Marketplace
Though thinking about the competition can often be a distraction, worrying about the clients and customers is always worthwhile. Regular customer engagement will keep your company innovating — the key word being engagement. Do not be afraid to differentiate how you approach communicating with your customers. Mass-email surveys were once ubiquitous, but not anymore. Today’s travelers want to be engaged in a more personal and sophisticated way. They want to be entertained, amused, and, most of all — be part of something bigger than themselves. They don’t just want to answer — they want to share. Avi Goldstein explains, “In the age of Instagram, you need to incorporate personality into data-gathering. You need to think of your customers and clients as a community.” This will not only give you a competitive advantage, but will guarantee happy, returning customers.
Have a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy
As alluded to above, marketing is a much more personal endeavour today than it was even ten years ago. Social media allows a brand to engage directly with their customers, clearly defining a tone of voice through correspondence. When your company responds to inquiries, comments, messages, or e-mails, make sure you have a consistent and cohesive tone of voice. It might be a product or service that gets people through the door, but it will be your engagement and customer service that keeps them coming back. Avi Goldstein explains that a customer service strategy that extends across all areas of your business, from your physical locations to your Instagram profile, will help you stand out from your competitors.
Lastly, Avi Goldstein explains that comparing yourself to your competition can actually hinder your progress. Should you keep the competition on your periphery? Absolutely! Should you allow them to drive your policy and decision making? Definitely not. Stay focused, stay in your own lane, lean into what makes you unique, and you will successfully set yourself apart from the pack.