The Cold Hard Truth

Look, it’s not pretty, but when push comes to shove you need to outperform your competitors. The truth is we’ve all been there. We’ve been frustrated because a competitor is targeting our traffic and copying our products. We’ve driven past other venue’s full car parks, whilst ours is empty.  This blog sets out a realistic set of marketing strategies that enable you to strike back.

Gathering Intel

Before you begin, you need some intel on your competitor(s). Start with, who are their target audience? Drill down into the specifics. Do they also focus on corporate bookings? Or maybe they’ve cornered the U6’s market. Check your competitors’ social posts and website to glean this information. Piece it together and make some notes. 

Next you need to estimate their catchment area. Within what radius can they reasonably expect to attract customers? Again, note this down. 

Finally, compile a list of your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, using their reviews for inspiration. Are they frequently told that their venue is too cold? or is their cafe overpriced? 

On the flip-side, do they have a special experience that their customers love? Or do they offer good value for money? Add this to your notes and keep the information close by, it’s vital for the next stages.

Google Ads Strategies

Now things are getting practical. First up is Google Ads, which is one of the most powerful tools for vying with your competitors. 

We have two favourite methods for using the platform to gain advantage. The first is targeting competitor traffic via search ads. It’s a simple way of putting your venue in front of your competitors’ organic web searches. Check out the following example, we’ve searched using the key words Laserquest”. However, the first results returned are search ads for Laser-Combat.

By inserting yourself into your competitors booking journey, you’re giving potential customers an opportunity to pause and compare. 

To set up these search campaigns, add the keywords that people search to find your competitor’s website to a regular search campaign. For example, if Fred’s Go Kart Track is your competitor, target variations of “Fred’s Go Kart Track”. 

To take this to the next level, set up specific campaigns, ad-sets and ads for each competitor. This is where the information you’ve gathered is useful. Perhaps you’ve identified that Fred’s Go Kart Track is known for its family friendly atmosphere, so you target that in your copy:

Just be aware that with this strategy, your competitors will quickly realise what you’re doing. But with our second Google Ads strategy, your competitor(s) will never know…

 With YouTube campaigns, you can target audiences based upon URLs they’ve visited. This enables you to serve YouTube ads to your competitor’s web visitors. . Considering that the average 95.07% of visitor attraction web visits don’t convert, there’s plenty of bookings to compete for. 

To set this up, create a video campaign. In the targeting section, create a new audience segment and enter your competitor’s URLs:

Whilst both these strategies are powerful on their own, when combined they’re formidable. Both have easy set ups, and can be launched within a few hours. It’s our go-to when the competition is heating up.

Meta Ads Location Targeting

Meta ads, specifically its granular location targeting, also offers great opportunities for competition. 

Using your catchment area estimation, you can place Meta ads in your competitor’s range, directly challenging them for bookings. Meta allows location (i.e. London), radius and postcodes.  

These campaigns are very simple to set up. When creating ad sets, find the location targeting section:

It’s also a good idea to craft your copy and creative with the list of your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses in mind. 

This technique works well in tandem with the Google Ads methods outlined above. But it’s also a powerful statement on its own.

Print Opportunities

Next on the list is print advertising. This one can be pretty provocative, so we’d only recommend it if you’re prepared to make a statement. But considering how competitive and centralised the market has been post-covid, you need to make statements. 

The premise for this strategy is simple, find advertising space close to your competitor and fill it with your material. Whilst we wouldn’t recommend being as personal as Burger King, they’ve certainly mastered this approach. 

It’s always worth working with print agencies for these campaigns. They will help you negotiate better prices and ensure your designs are the appropriate proportions and quality.

Final Comments

So If you’re in a position where you need to compete, you’ve now got a playbook. However, we won’t end this piece without stating that quality and class inevitably win in the end. 

The strategies included are short-term tactics, intended to provide quick assistance if you’re in a fix. If you want your venue to be a long-term winner, then you need to focus upon creating meaningful experiences for your guests, week after week, year after year. 

One final words of warning, don’t get sucked into what are often imaginary conflicts. Focus on the bigger picture. There are as many opportunities for cooperation as there are conflicts. Pick your battles and only commit time, resources and energy to the ones that matter. 

If you still need assistance, you can always reach out to us at