The niche is the future – why USPs are so important

A good concept has never been a bad thing for a restaurateur, especially not when a USP is winning you customers. The winners of the 2022 METRO Award for Sustainable Hospitality, Jonas Mog and Kim Stellbrinck from place to V, are convinced that the future of successful hospitality lies in finding your niche.

Place to V

Anyone staying with Jonas Mog and Kim Stellbrinck in the ahead burghotel in Lenzen (Elbe) can look forward to a very special breakfast in the morning. No eggs and sausages here – instead you’ll get homemade spreads, scrambled tofu, fresh waffles and vegan smoked ‘salmon’. Place to V, the onsite restaurant, doesn’t serve any animal products. Instead, it serves all kinds of vegan delicacies made from regional ingredients. Too partisan? Not in the least! The founders have discovered their USP in the German hotel sector and have even won the 2022 METRO Award for Sustainable Hospitality. They are convinced that the future of the HoReCa sector lies in that special something!

‘Success in the hotel and hospitality industry will only be ensured in the long term by establishing differentiation. Those who don’t keep this in mind quickly find themselves in a price spiral, which means they have only the cheapest price as a point of comparison and this is forced ever lower to keep them in the game. And then the service itself suffers,’ explains Jonas Mog.

That special something even helps in a crisis

Well-thought-out niche concepts can be a good approach for staying in business in the long term. There are many examples, as Jonas Mog explains. Hotels just for adults, or just for families. Businesses with a clear focus on health awareness, offering cures, fasting and Ayurveda. Or those for dog owners, golf lovers or naturists. ‘We live in an individualised world. There are brands in every sector to enable individual expression, for example with cars or fashion. It’s about consciously defining yourself by doing something different,’ says Mog. With a strong USP (unique selling proposition), hotel and hospitality businesses can be more resistant to crisis and benefit from decisive competitive advantages in sales and marketing. ‘For example, we can manage our advertising in a very targeted way and get numerous enquiries through the press because of the unique concept.

A sure sign of satisfied guests is a high number who come again.

Jonas Mog

This means we’re not reliant on online travel agencies; customers book us directly. The advantage here is that we save on commission and we have all customer data available for staying in direct personal contact,’ explains the hotel founder. Ultimately, this ensures greater satisfaction among the guests as their needs are recognised and their wishes are fulfilled. ‘A sure sign of satisfied guests is a high number who come again.’ And there’s nothing better for hospitality and hotel businesses than people who are delighted to come again!

Of course there are disadvantages to being niche too –  missing out on trends and customers changing their behaviour. ‘Just think of all the bubble tea shops, whose time in Germany had suddenly passed,’ remembers Jonas Mog. And of course there are also guests who will never take an interest in the niche. ‘But that’s ok. You can’t please everyone.’

Passion is what counts

Mog says that what counts in the end for a hospitality business is passion and authenticity. ‘It makes a lot of sense to live your own concept, or at least to have experience within the target group. If you bring a popular concept to life just for economic reasons but have little empathy or interest in the idea or the people behind it, you probably won’t have the desired success in the long term. Guests see your special skills but they feel the passion.’

METRO Wholesale Package finds the right solution

As a food wholesaler, METRO has the experts (Sales Force) and the products needed by hospitality business operators. From tailored concept consultancy and digital solutions to food products for individual needs, the METRO Wholesale Package offers the perfect solution for every niche. Support with the hospitality concept, a suitable website and, of course, the right products at the right prices are available here.

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