Hotel Industry‒ the Issue of Data Privacy and the Importance of First-Party Data

Security and Data Privacy Issues in Hotel Industry

Third-party data has effectively helped hotels to learn more about target audiences by collecting data from platforms such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft. This includes names, email addresses, social media handles, purchase history, and website browsing activities collected by third-party cookies. It helps track user behavior and generates virtual profiles – the ideal recipe for hotels looking to target potential visitors with ads and email marketing.

Security and Data Privacy Issues in Hotel Industry

Data Privacy issues in the hotel industry are an ongoing concern. Data privacy is a major issue for hotels, which collect data about their guests, including geolocation information, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data.

Digital platforms are the hub of hotel marketing. Today, most hotels across the globe bank upon data from large user-generated social media platforms and tech giants to harvest data on potential clients. But with stricter data privacy laws steadily creeping over the globe, things should change.

The End of Third-Party Cookies

According to Claravine, Third-party cookies should fade out as Google has announced its intention to phase out cross-site tracking (via third-party cookies) in Chrome browsers by 2022. At their core, these updates try to address taking control of personal data away from the industry and putting the user in control of who collects data about their behavior and how that data can be used.

This comes at the backdrop of the issue of data privacy among customers. From entertainment and finance to retail and hotels, people want to know who will have access to their data, what it will be used for, and if their data will be secure. Digital marketing in the hotel industry is no exception. So, how can hoteliers act towards data privacy concerns and embrace the shift to first-party data to build relationships/experiences with travelers?

How Should the Hostel Industry Respond to Data Privacy Concerns Among Consumers?

Today’s consumers expect transparency from service providers and want to be aware of how their data is used and shared. Like any other brand, hotels and their ad partners are impacted by the planned phase-out of third-party cookies amid the new concerns around data privacy. Many consumers want to have control over their personal data and want to power to opt-in or opt-out of how companies or advertisers can use and share their data. To overcome this challenge, hotel companies must focus on new strategies to create enticing digital experiences for consumers while complying with upcoming data privacy regulations. By aligning digital marketing efforts with data privacy laws, hotel companies can prepare for a more direct and transparent relationship with consumers.

Why Should Hospitality Embrace the Shift to First-Party Data?

The hospitality industry should not just accept a shift to first-party data, but they must also embrace it. The inevitable transition away from third-party cookies and toward first-party data online is already in progress, and hospitality companies that don’t make changes to accommodate a first-party data strategy will get left behind.

Third-party data is any data a business or entity collets but doesn’t have any direct link to the visitor or customer, meaning it’s unlikely the prospective guest will be interested in your product (and the data is inherently less accurate). Whereas First-party data is the data that your company or hotel has collected directly from your audience — customers, site visitors, social media followers, and so on. In other words, first-party data is your own data. It’s the data that your customers voluntarily surrender when they visit your website or otherwise interact with you. Given this, it’s also considered to be highly accurate.

Luckily for the hospitality industry, first-party data already plays a significant role for companies, so they now need to apply online what they’ve been doing offline for years. As the shift to first-party data evolves, hospitality companies still have time to properly prepare their marketing strategies by adjusting their expectations, setting new KPIs, and implementing privacy-first data compliant tactics.

First-party data can include data from:
  •  Your Property Management System (POS)
  •  Your POS
  •  Check-in (e.g., guest stay preferences)
  •  Online reviews
  •  Post-stay surveys
  •  Your website or mobile app
  •  Your CRM

Hospitality leaders shouldn’t be afraid of the first-party data landscape because performance is not necessarily at odds with privacy. The best way to make changes is to start by taking control of existing internal data and hiring talented experts who can bring the data together and understand how to best use it. Hotels need to focus on first-party data to build better user profiles by harvesting information from their own channels.

Data Privacy Issues in the Hotel Industry

The Challenges

The first-party data opportunity is massive. The world’s best brands, such as Amazon and Airbnb, have put the customer at the center of their operations with experiences that are highly customized and data-driven. But it’s tough to pull this off, especially for hotels — traveler journeys are disjointed, guest data is siloed, and attribution is flawed, to name a few challenges that hoteliers face today.

Concluding line

While the hospitality industry was impacted adversely during the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for travel and vacation experiences is already beginning to rebound in India. To keep up with fresh demand, companies have had to embrace new digital marketing strategies to unlock data insights and learn more about what today’s travelers want. Likewise, it will be a paramount concern to protect travelers’ data as India looks to enact legislation on Personal Data Protection. The kind of data stored by hotels – names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, credit card details, passports, and ID numbers, etc. – makes them prone to cyber threats. The bill will monitor how businesses collect, store and process an individual’s data while also putting in force rules on consent.

DIGITAL PILOTO is a digital marketing consulting firm with a unique brand image in the digital marketing industry. It provides services related to search engine optimization (SEO), Social media optimization (SM0), Conversion rate optimization (CRO), and Creative Content. For more such reads, please refer to the blog section and explore informative articles on the role of marketing in various industries like education, health, hospitality, manufacturing, etc. We hope you'll love the articles and find them relevant


Digital Piloto, December 26, 2021

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