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How Hospitality Leaders Can Navigate a Third-Party Cookie-less Future

With third-party cookies sunsetting, hospitality leaders need to get creative in how they collect and deploy the data they are able to collect.
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Organizations across the nation are preparing for the soon deprecation of third-party cookies, which means that having a first-party data strategy in place is critical now more than ever. The hospitality space in particular faces many unique challenges as its foundation is built on experience.

And, hospitality leaders are still battling the “hangover” from the pandemic, with consumer behaviors significantly shifting. To better understand and reach these customers, it’s important to adopt a data-driven strategy. But, with third-party cookie deprecation, hospitality leaders must build a new structure founded on first-party data to get them to opt in before it’s too late.

First, put your already-collected data into action

Hospitality organizations have an abundance of data. These organizations have been collecting first-party data for years through loyalty programs, guest check ins, and more. But just simply having this abundance of data won’t help you better reach guests — you must put it into action.

Hospitality leaders are in a unique situation and can capitalize on a top-funnel digital strategy since they already have access to myriads of data points. With signal loss disrupting every industry, hospitality organizations can be a step ahead if they act now and put their data to work. Building an infrastructure equipped with data-driven capabilities that better collect, cleanse, manage, and utilize all of this collected data will allow hospitality leaders to better understand and connect with their guests.

And, a foundation of first-party data will be stronger in utilizing third-party data, which shouldn’t be confused for completely going away. With third-party cookies sunsetting, hospitality leaders need to get creative in how they collect and deploy the data they are able to collect.

Next, break down critical silos within your data and within teams

Like many industries, the hospitality space is no exception to fragmentation challenges. From search aggregators to travel agencies to brands’ homepages, there are various channels that guests are engaging with.

Through embracing a data-first mentality, hospitality organizations can unify all these different data sets across every touchpoint. Being able to seamlessly share data across these various networks poses a tremendous opportunity to truly connect with customers. Once this is accomplished, you can continue getting even more value out of the data by optimizing experiences in-the-moment so as to interact in real time.

In addition to breaking down silos impacting customers, technology can help break down walls within an organization. Now, every department in an organization can benefit from customer data. That’s why having marketing, IT, and finance leaders working in conjunction with each other can help create a better customer experience no matter where they are in the customer journey — from purchasing a plane ticket to booking their favorite excursion. Breaking down the silos will be even more impactful as industry standards and the ways in which brands are allowed to collect data continue to evolve. Synchrony is significant to maintain positive customer experiences omnichannel.

Foster trust with your loyal customers

Today’s travel and hospitality landscape is challenging and constantly evolving. The cost and strenuous process of traveling has certainly taken the “relaxation” out of a vacation. It’s without a doubt that consumers feel uneasy, but it’s not too late to earn their trust. As consumers continue to grapple with their silliness to provide data to brands, their concerns about privacy are valid. Being savvier than ever before, today’s traveler is a connected traveler, and with that comes more knowledge about what their privacy rights are.

A recent survey by Sailthru found that 81% of people are willing to share personal data to earn loyalty program benefits to a trusted brand, and 70% are willing to share this data to receive special discounts. The hospitality space is the pioneer of brand loyalty, but you’ll need to put in some effort to maintain that stature. Trust is built one block at a time but can come tumbling down rather quickly.

The first step is transparency. From pricing to how data is being used, transparency is significant in earning trust. Clearly communicating with your most loyal customers will show them you are going the extra mile. Handling data ethically and responsibly will also show customers that you can be trusted. Utilizing data in a way that truly enhances the customer experience shows you know them and value them.

The landscape is constantly evolving, and brands that are agile will continue to be successful. With third-party cookies sunsetting, it’s now the time to embrace a first-party data strategy and lay the foundation for a more future-proofed business.


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