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How to determine your Unique Value Proposition?

Takes 9 minutes to read

To make sure European travellers do their business with you and not your competitors, you need a Unique Value Proposition. This tells them what unique benefits your product or service offers them. To determine these unique benefits, you need to analyse your destination and your product or service. Define your target market and learn from your colleagues and existing customers. When you have defined your Unique Value Proposition, use it widely to attract new business!


Why do you need a Unique Value Proposition?

Your business’s Unique Value Proposition is one of the most important elements of your overall marketing message. A Unique Value Proposition is a basic marketing concept, in which you define what makes your product or service unique and valuable to your target market. It tells potential customers why they should do business with you, rather than your competitors.

A good Unique Value Proposition describes:

  • The benefits of your product (value)
  • For which customer your products meet a need (the target market for your proposition)
  • What makes you and/or your product different from the competition (unique).

Why should your ideal customer purchase from you, rather than from anyone else?

If you can answer this question in one catchy sentence, you have a strong and unique value proposition.

To help you do this, these are our top 10 tips to define a good Unique Value Proposition for your tourism business.

Top 10 tips for determining your tourism company’s Unique Value Proposition

  1. List the physical features and factors of your destination
  2. Identify the features and benefits that are unique to your product or service
  3. Limit  your product or service
  4. Define your target market
  5. Learn from your colleagues
  6. Consult your customers
  7. Start writing phrases
  8. Answer your customer’s primary question: ‘What's in it for me?’
  9. Appeal to your customer’s emotions
  10. Use your Unique Value Proposition

For tips on how to use your Unique Value Proposition for online success, see our top 10 tips for being a successful tourism company online.

1 . Tip 1: List the physical features and factors of your destination

To get started, you need to list the physical features and factors of your destination.

Look at your destination’s:

  • climate (tropical, sea breeze, desert)
  • geography (river, mountain, sea)
  • services (facilities, activities)
  • icons (landmark buildings, topographical features)
  • infrastructure (closeness or direct connections to specific services/icons).

Use this list to identify your destination’s key competitive advantages. You can use the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index to analyse your country’s performance. In which areas does it score well?

Be thorough, what is ordinary to you may be special to your potential customers.

2 . Tip 2: Identify the features and benefits that are unique to your product or service

When you have listed the physical features and factors of your destination, you need to identify which of those are unique to your product or service. These are the benefits that set you apart from competitors.

There are several ways you can compare your features and benefits with your direct competitors:

  • The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index – compare your destination’s performance in the various areas of the index to that of your competitors
  • Google searching – you can try a general search on destination or type of product, or search for specific competitors that you know
  • Tourism associations (such as adventure or eco-tourism) – their websites allow you to compare the offers of both your national and international competitors in your specific market
  • Your destination’s website – on your destination’s portal, you can compare your product to that of your local competitors
  • International destination websites – the portals of competing destinations allow you to compare your product to what is on offer at other locations
  • Online travel agencies (OTAs) – these websites can give you an idea who your competitors are so you can compare your product to theirs.

3 . Tip 3: Limit your product or service

After identifying the unique features and benefits of your product or service, you need to narrow down your offer. You can do this by determining the aspects of your product or service that your competitors cannot imitate.

Take your list of unique features and benefits and put an asterisk (*) next to anything that your competitors cannot easily duplicate or reproduce.

You should specialise. Do not offer everything, but choose the products that you feel will be successful.

Example:

As tourism companies often do, you may offer set tours on your website. Tours that you have pre-planned for your (potential) customers. However, European travellers usually prefer a tailor-made trip. If your website does not show that you can provide tailor-made or customised tours, they might book with the competition.

4 . Tip 4: Define your target market

Next, you need to define your target market. What kind of people would be interested in your product? What kind of people would you like to attract?

Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Who are they?
  • What problems do they have?
  • What are they looking for?
  • What do they value?

Keep up to date on trends and developments in your European source markets. Social phenomena often lead to new or changed wishes and therefore to new concepts and products.

For tips on trends and development that are influencing your target market, see our study about which trends offer opportunities on the European outbound tourism market.

5 . Tip 5: Learn from your colleagues

Within your company

When determining your Unique Value Proposition, learn from your employees. They talk to clients and might know your business from a different perspective. This is also good for your company’s team spirit. Discussing your Unique Value Proposition generates a sense of belonging to the company among your employees. It creates support for your chosen line of business.

With other companies

Also do research and make contact with other companies so can learn from them and/or work together.

Consider companies that:

  • offer similar products at different destinations
  • are at your destination that offer other products to a similar target market.

You can both learn from these companies’ Unique Value Propositions and strengthen your offer with cross-overs.

6 . Tip 6: Consult your customers

Look at your product or service through the eyes of your (potential) customer. They might value other aspects of it than you would expect. You need to develop your products based on their perception, instead of your own.

Your existing customers are your best resource to learn about the value you offer. Find out how your customers define value, do not only consider your own definition. Consult some of your recent customers. Tell them you need help in understanding the real value of the product you offer and you would like to learn from their perspective. Ask them how they felt about your tourism product before and after they experienced it.

Consulting your customers can be a real eye-opener. Sometimes the service you provide free of charge, or do not even think about mentioning, has made the biggest difference for your guest.

There is this great example of a traveller who wanted to go on a wine tour. The website of the company in question said they offered wine tours. When the traveller enquired, they responded quickly. The traveller expected no more than a wine tour and a prompt and on-time driver. However, he was surprised to get a personalised educational wine tour. His tour guide was exceptionally knowledgeable and adjusted the wine tour perfectly to the traveller’s liking.

This wine tour company has a Unique Value Proposition that they were not communicating. This company did not need more advertising or an updated website to generate more business. They simply needed to formulate their Unique Value Proposition and clearly communicate it to their potential customers.

By now, you should be able to answer the question:

Why should your ideal customer purchase from you, rather than from anybody else?

7 . Tip 7: Start writing phrases

Create phrases about your unique product or service that answer the question: Why should your ideal customer purchase from you, rather than anybody else?

When writing your phrases, you should:

  • make them short, clear, and concise
  • use the words from the previous steps (unique benefits of your product or service)
  • make sure they are easy to communicate and your customers can easily understand them
  • avoid buzzwords, or obvious and meaningless slogans or clichés
  • make them outcome focused, emphasising the business value of your offering
  • include how you are different from (or better than) your competitors.

8 . Tip 8: Answer your customer's primary question: ‘What's in it for me?’

A good Unique Value Proposition makes the benefits of your products and services crystal clear from the outset. It needs to be to the point and phrased as a benefit to your customer. Your customer needs to know ‘What’s in it for me?’

Examples include the following.

  • Airbnb: Welcome home. Rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190 countries
  • Yoga Travel: Yoga holidays and retreats in great locations. Our yoga trips are the ideal relaxation getaway, hosted by the best Yoga Teachers
  • Globus Faith: Walk in the footsteps of your spiritual leaders and explore the roots of your faith

9 . Tip 9: Appeal to your customer’s emotions

European travellers increasingly let emotional reactions and triggers influence their decisions. Therefore, your Unique Value Proposition should appeal to your customer’s emotions. If you get it right, it will give make your customers feel connected to your destination and its values.

Decide what specific emotional need of your target market your product or service meets. Think about this from your customer's perspective and add it to your list.

For example:

Destination

Unique Value Proposition

Emotional need

Canada

The ultimate in personal exploration

Keep Exploring

Personal immersion and escapism

India

Incredible spiritual discovery and diversity

Incredible India

Adventure, spiritualism and mystique

Malaysia

The best of Asian culture

Malaysia Truly Asia

Broadening cultural horizons

New Zealand

Most unspoilt/authentic nature/lifestyle

100% pure New Zealand

Back to nature the way it was

Source: UNWTO

10 . Tip 10: Use your Unique Value Proposition

Your Unique Value Proposition is essential from the moment your potential clients become aware of your tourism business. Tell your visitor what makes your tourism company special right away. This increases the chance that they will connect with your message and keep on reading. Without a Unique Value Proposition, visitors may quickly dismiss you as just another hotel/tour operator/attraction etc. and move on to your competition.

Use your Unique Value Proposition widely. Give it a prominent place on your website and base your marketing campaigns on it.

Use it in:

  • All your marketing activities
  • Your telephone script
  • The email signature for all your staff members
  • Your customer proposal, in which you should make it the core message.

So when defining your Unique Value Proposition, keep the following in mind.

  • Do what you can, don’t try what you can’t.
  • Don’t pretend to be the best, but try to be different.
  • Differentiate, don’t imitate.

Please review our market information disclaimer.