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Is First-Party Data the Answer to Hotel Marketers’ Prayers?

Yes, if a brand knows how to use it properly. 
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In March 2020, Apple decided to block third-party cookies in Safari. By June of 2022, Mozilla Firefox made its Total Cookie Protection feature the default for all users worldwide. And since its inception, DuckDuckGo has advertised itself as a browser for those who want to “take back” their privacy. Google is the last to phase out its use of third-party cookies. It currently says that it will no longer allow cookies by the end of 2024. 

“Cookies are really the lifeblood of Google’s advertising machine, and so they continue to put it off,” said Amperity CEO Barry Padgett. “However, this advertising ecosystem is becoming less and less effective. Match rates that used to be in the 90s are now in the 30s. This also means that brands are finding that their spend just doesn’t go as far as it used to. So, brands are now asking: How do I find the people I want to find and market to them?”

According to Padgett, the answer is first-party data. 

First-Party Data Creates Opportunities

First-Party data is data that has been collected by a brand with the consumer’s consent. For hoteliers, this data can be found in their point-of-sale system, their spa system, their reservation system, from the GDS or even from OTAs. It can come from clicking on an advertisement on a social media platform, or from a response to an emailed survey. While using this data can enable some rich rewards, it isn’t without its pain points. 

“For most brands, a variety of first-party data is stored in different systems and none of these systems communicate well, if at all, with each other,” Padgett explained. “So, brands need to figure out how to stitch this data together, format it, plug it into a useful platform, and have trained in-house resources to help you take advantage of it. And for those brands that would rather have someone else do it for them, there are companies such as Amperity that can help.”

Amperity takes raw data from its clients and combs through it - using algorithms and machine learning to create a profile on every guest that has stayed with the brand. But these aren’t generic profiles. These are dynamic and highly evolving data sets. For example, a profile for Jane Doe may have five email addresses attached to it. Amperity’s patented algorithm can determine which email is typically used for business travel and which is used for personal travel. It can also determine which advertisements should be sent to which email address. Jane Doe’s profile will also have information such as how much she spends on dining out when she’s on a work trip versus when it's a personal vacation, or how much she spends when dining alone versus with other people. Hotels can learn if she likes to go to the bar, if she prefers room service, if she books spa appointments, and more. 

When hotels can accurately access and categorize their first party guest data, they can really get to know their best customers and what type of traits they have in common. They can then take this information to Meta, for example, and ask for their advertisements to be targeted to individuals with those same traits. 

“And now, when that ad gets placed, people who - from a data point of view - look like a brand’s best customer are going to be seeing these ads and are much more likely to become not only a new customer but a highly valuable customer in the future,” Padgett added.

Of course, it also helps the brands personalize offers and communications to on property and future guests.

“This single view of each hotel guest can now function as a wall outlet. Hotels can begin to plug in their paid media platform, their Salesforce marketing cloud, their CRM systems, such as Marketo or Adobe, and even their contact center support system,” Padgett said.

Wyndham Discovers Marketing Efficiency

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is one brand that Amperity recently worked with to help them hone in on and create a single source of truth for customer records so that it could expand its loyalty program and help drive direct bookings. Like many in the industry, Wyndham had customer profiles that were scattered across multiple systems and attempts to match and merge data were often handled manually and led to inaccuracies. After partnering with Amperity, Wyndham saw some incredible results: double digit growth in return on ad spend in activated targeted audiences, $2.5 million in annual incremental revenue from newly enrolled members, a 35% decrease in media costs, and a 60% increase in conversion rates from non loyalty to loyalty members.

“By stitching together their data, Wyndham discovered a whole new group of loyalty members that had previously been overlooked simply because they booked through multiple channels and the brand wasn’t aware it was the same person,” Padgett explained.

"Having direct-to-publisher activation at our fingertips is key,” added Michael Shiwdin, vice president, guest intelligence & engagement at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “With Amperity, we can take our high-impact guest audiences directly to the paid media ecosystem for retargeting and look-alike modeling. In doing so, we are seeing an uplift in conversions for targeted audiences, all while realizing new cost efficiencies and greater privacy."

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