One of the largest trade shows in the country is orchestrated by a Newtown, CT based organization, the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Each year, they put together an industry conference that attracts over 60,000 attendees from backgrounds as diverse as military, law enforcement, people interested in self defense and protection, hunters, and competitive shooters. Their stated mission is to promote, protect, and preserve and they do that in a large way by reserving two floors of the Sands Hotel Conference Facility in Las Vegas right on the strip.
Of course, any time people congregate in Las Vegas, there is ample opportunity to observe human behavior and the impact of marketing, merchandising, and how companies can attract people to spend their money. The lessons to be learned are illuminating for any business person.
When one takes a step back and honestly assesses what is happening along the Las Vegas Strip, it becomes clear that there is little difference between properties.. They all (or nearly all):
- Offer gaming tables of different sorts.
- Provide shopping opportunities from retailers familiar to hotel guests from their home state – often aspirational retailers selling luxury items that most guests would not ordinarily consider purchasing if they were not currently “on vacation.”
- Have a plethora of dining options from the ubiqutous buffets to restaurants serving ethnic foods all the way to the more elegant and regal dining options.
- Schedule shows from family entertainment and the latest headliners to burlesque options.
- Maintain pools, health clubs/spas and opportunities for further pampering.<BR><BR>
To better attract consumers, shoppers, and guests to spend their money with one hotel over another; the Las Vegas hotels offer various themes. From the pseudo French architecture of a hotel named Paris , to the opulence of hotels that approximate riding gondolas in Italy or staying among Egyptian ruins. Just as the hotels invest enormous sums in their hotels to differentiate themselves from each other, so too must local businesses work hard to create a point of difference from their competitors.<BR>
Whether it is the local pizzeria in your town trying to gain a greater share of the delivery business, or if it is the florist on the corner trying to ascertain how to compete against the supermarkets in town that can buy in bulk and get volume discounts from the suppliers; every business must confront what they offer the prospective customer that is not currently available elsewhere form competitors.<BR>
While competing on price or cost is one possibility, and providing a better product or service is often a useful and successful way to compete; the hotels and casinos in Las Vegas do offer another option that is worth considering – the experience of the customer as the brand. Playing the slots is possible in all of the hotels. However, being within earshot a replica roller coaster from Coney Island is only available at one property. Seeing the water fountain show is possible only if one is staying at, or wanders by the Bellagio. So, what is your brand’s point of difference versus your competition? What is memorable to your customers about doing business with your company? To not have an answer that truly distinguishes your business from others is to play roulette with your future!