All The Same…? Part II

commodity and price

Okay, so yesterday I introduced you to an expert (consultant) who makes his living going from live presentation to live presentation, lecturing business groups on his theory that live presentations don’t work.

I know… it didn’t make sense to me either.

His entire teaching hangs on the thread that your customers, regardless of your industry,  no longer want to have any personal contact with you… and that goes double for your sales team.  According to him, they don’t need to… they’ve reduced you and your products or services to commodities.  All that matters now is the price.

Yes, this theory holds… marketing and sales are irrelevant.  You pick your niche and you have the lowest price within that market space.  Period.  The gentleman went on to spend 20% of his seminar on the concept of purchasing a hotel room online.  As discussed in the previous article, he suggested that once the star rating and amenities were chosen, price was the only differentiator.

Going down the trail with his model, all hotels within a given rating are the same… they are commodities… and you will choose the least expensive… every time.


Just one problem… he forgot that people work at these hotels.  And that means the commodity argument just flew right out the window.

The following are actual reviews from various three and four star hotels, all within dollars of each other:

“Front desk attendants were not very well trained.  The lobby was extremely noisy, and they never had enough help at the front desk for check-in or check-out times.  Will not go back.”

“I can’t say enough wonderful things about this hotel. It was spectacular. The food was better than I have ever had anywhere. All of the restaurants are incredible. The service was outstanding. From the second we arrived, we were treated like royalty.”

“The hotel looked nothing like its Internet pictures. Horrible experience. The staff were rude, bad parking, expensive breakfast, rooms need maintenance, not close to anything, no irons or cleaning service, Pay TV wasn’t working. Ended up leaving 2 nights early. Never again.”

“We had a wonderful time. The food is great and all the people working there are extemely helpful and friendly. Absolutely the best hotel experience ever. Room service was outstanding.  Cannot imagine staying anywhere else.”

“We took the cheapest 3-star hotel in the area but would gladly pay more next time to have better conditions. Thermostat was broken, shower/tub walls were cracked.  I had called before making the reservation to find out when breakfast was served on Sunday. Unfortunately, [it did not start on time] and we had to leave without eating.  Very disappointing. We would not stay there again.”

“I loved this hotel and nearly everything about it. The staff was gracious and very helpful. From check-in to check-out, this was one of the best hotel stays we’ve ever had.”


Clearly, hotel stays are not commodity buys.

Yes, you may make one purchase based on price… but what happens next, and your satisfaction with your purchase, will be determined by people interacting with other people.  To be sure, it will determine whether you… or many others… ever go back.

And that’s as it should be.  You see, it turns out that hotels… like every other business… live or die with repeat and referral customers.  And there are a million and one subtleties that you can control to separate your small business or service from the commodity mentality. 


I look forward to speaking with you.



What are three improvements you can make this month to separate yourself from the competition?

Which of your team can lead the charge to make the changes, and what do they need from you?

Are you committed to give them whatever it takes to get it done?


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