Are you Airbnb or Marriott?

June 07, 2023

I used to think there were hundreds of unique reasons customers choose my business over others.

But, it really boils down to three things:

People buy from you because you are either better, faster, or cheaper.

That’s it.

Most successful businesses can accomplish two, but exceptional ones find a way to do all three.

Let me give you an example.

1. Being better is different.

Recently, my wife and I were looking for a place to stay during an overnight trip to a concert.

I wanted to try something “different” so I started at AirBNB.

They have seen enormous success over the past decade.

AirBNB’s offered a fresh, different model from the traditional hotel.

But for every perfect stay, there’s five other stories with of poor maintenance and thin walls.

The quality varies significantly from place to place.

I found myself wondering if different was actually better.

So I began to consider Marriott.

You don't have to worry about clean sheets or questionable neighbors when you go to Marriott.

Consistency is what makes them better.

And sometimes that’s all it takes.

I’m a believer in different is what drives demand, but we shouldn’t confuses different with unique.

Marriott is better in that they are so remarkably consistent that many prefer them over unique AirBNB offerings because of their inconsistent experiences.

The same can be said for every Starbucks.

Is their coffee better than your boutique one-off cafe?

No, but their consistent experience is what makes them better.

You don’t have to question what you’re going to get.

Can the same be said about your business?

2. Simplify through speed

As I navigated AirBNB I was scrolling trying to find the perfect option.

Looking through every review and scrutinizing every photo.

This process started as fun, but quickly turned to work.

I realized the simplest solution might be Marriott

In two clicks, I booked a room.

It was so much easier and faster than the endless scrolling it takes to find the perfect Airbnb.

Speed and ease are remarkable drivers of demand.

3. What’s the true cost?

When I say "cheaper," I'm not necessarily talking about undercutting your competition’s prices.

You will always have competitors who cost less than you.

“Cheaper” can sometimes mean the opportunity cost of making a mistake, or getting to a solution more quickly.

These are the times when paying more saves you money.

Reflecting on the concert trip, I was surprised that Marriott was not only better (clean sheets) and faster (booking in two clicks), but it was also cheaper than Airbnb.

They won all three.

How could I choose anything else?

How will you be better, faster, cheaper?

I use this example of Marriott vs. AirBNB because it's important to know what your brand is providing to your customers, and what they actually want.

If you want the option of stepping away from your business to have a life beyond the business you’ve created, you need to understand how your customers make purchasing choices.

BETTER: What are you willing to do that your competitors can't or won't?

FASTER: How can you leverage technology to reduce operating costs or deliver better results faster?

CHEAPER: Can you improve value to make your product/services more cost-effective than the initial price?

What problems can you solve for your clients that everyone else assumes are "just the way it is?"

Remember, it's not just about being better, faster, or cheaper.

It's about combining all three and creating a truly exceptional business that clients can't resist and can't wait to share with others.

Better, faster, and cheaper will give you a business that will scale.

Talk soon,

Zach Williams

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