Friday, November 09, 2007
Being all things to all people
Aesop once said, "Please all and you will please none."
Trying to please everyone is a tempting trap but doomed to failure. Chuck McKay at Fishing for Customers has a great post about the benefits of specialization. He makes the point that specialists are more successful than generalists but everyone is afraid of leaving potential customers behind. Chuck argues that it doesn't work that way. He makes a good case for rethinking your strategy and defining yourself more precisely.
This applies to hotels, restaurants, tours, attractions, museums, people and every aspect of the tourism business. What is your brand really? What are you known for?
Even cities have a certain quality, a distinct personality that sets them apart. Boston isn't the same as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami or Washington, D.C.; the list goes on and on. They don't even try to be. But there is something I see more and more in my travels. The homogenization of many aspects of these cities. The loss of local flavor and personality. Starbucks is a classic and overused example. So is Walmart. But it exists on a smaller scale too. How many times can you visit similar sites, tours, eateries and experiences everywhere you go before it doesn't matter where you go. It's all the same.
Travelers today seem to want familiar and unusual. Variety and sameness. The opportunity lies in specialization whether for yourself or your tourism related business. Don't try to be like everyone else. Don't say "me too!" anymore. Decide who you are and be it with all your might.
Will you "miss" some customers at the end of the day...yes. The upside is developing a true identity in the marketplace and creating loyal, even rabid, fans.
Who are you and why should I give you my money? Better decide before it's too late.