A future without cookies – enabling first party data to increase bookings

In 2023, third-party cookies will disappear, whether hotel marketers like it or not.

This is a fundamental shift from a 30-year-old technique marketers have relied on to track potential travelers across sites. In our last article, we discussed the cookie, the impact of a cookie-free world on marketing strategies, and why first-party data and people-based marketing strategies are so important to future success.

First-party data capture is essential to a cookieless strategy, but marketers can’t just collect that data, they need to enable it properly.

Here’s a breakdown of first-party data, why you need it, and how you can enable it to create personalized experiences, increase brand loyalty, and capture direct bookings.

Future success starts with data collection

Collecting the right data is key to building a comprehensive advertising plan and creating deeper connections with customers. Unlike third-party cookies, first-party data is not anonymous, making it an incredibly powerful tool for understanding traveler behavior and creating campaigns that deliver the right message at the right time.

Hashed emails, first-party cookie IDs, and historical booking data are all first-party data types that work in tandem to paint a complete picture of the traveler and their trip. Let’s dive deeper into each and highlight ways to use this data to successfully create cookie-free campaigns.

Online and offline login with hashed emails

In an anonymous world, cookies are indispensable. But today, a significant portion of a consumer’s time is spent in a connected environment.

They log in using their email addresses, which serve as their digital passport to making online purchases, such as hotel reservations. While cookies can be useful in a connected environment, other identification approaches, including hashed emails, are more accurate and aligned with consumers’ desire for consent and control. The key is finding ways to connect with users in those authenticated locations.

Hashed email uses an algorithm to convert an email into a unique, unrecognizable mix of characters to identify and target online travelers. For example, after hashing “[email protected]”, the algorithm would change it to an unrecognizable string such as “d7984b9599199b83cc213f19cb2906d2”.

Hashing an email turns a single email into a pseudonymized string of characters that allows hoteliers to continue targeting effectively without third-party cookies. They also respect customer privacy without sacrificing accuracy.

Hashed emails are the new addressable identifier for a traveler, allowing marketers to connect online and offline activities and communicate with them across all devices. A hashed email can be collected in several ways, but the main one is to request a connection on your website or after a traveler has made a reservation on the hotel’s website.

Then, when that traveler visits other websites, marketers can target them throughout the customer journey using their hashed email instead of cookies. Marketers can entice travelers to provide email through methods like loyalty programs and then use that information to deliver personalized experiences.

Goodbye third-party cookies, hello first-party cookie IDs

A first-party cookie is an identifier that Hotel Marketers, as the brand’s website owner, stores and manages. These cookies allow visitors to use the hotel’s website without logging in again each time they visit. They help collect data, remember language settings, and overall ensure travelers get a personalized website experience.

Like hashed emails, first-party cookie IDs are unique. These IDs can be shared with marketing partners to match travelers’ on-site activity to their hashed emails, which can improve campaign performance. The great value of a first-party cookie is that once captured and associated with hashed email, that partner can identify when a traveler has visited the hotel site without ever having to log in or to make a purchase again. This allows marketers to use hashed emails to retarget travelers who have visited the site.

Exploitation of historical reservation data

The third set of key data marketers need in a cookie-free world is historical booking data. This is data collected by hotel marketers in CRM or other systems, including past stays or reserved amenities. Historical booking data also brings offline booking data into the mix, such as agents at a desk, call center or walk-ins, creating more robust traveler profiles. Using past stay history and a database of guest profiles, hotels can segment their list and send promotions to smaller targeted groups of travelers, which can capture more bookings and reduce the number of people who unsubscribe from marketing promotions.

While most CRMs allow hoteliers to rate their guests based on recency, frequency, and monetary spend, some systems allow hoteliers to perform advanced segmentation, such as cancellation percentage and conversion rates. upsells. This information allows marketers to send highly targeted promotions, for example, to travelers within a 100-mile geographic radius who haven’t been in six months but rarely cancel reservations and still buy breakfast. These types of personalized offers not only increase conversions, but also build brand loyalty.

Sharing historical booking data from CRM systems with partners can also enrich campaign performance. When combined with hashed emails and first-party cookie information, partners can use historical booking data to further enhance traveler profiles for more effective targeting.

Collecting and enabling the right data is essential for cookie-free success. Together, hashed emails, first-party cookie IDs, and historical booking data form the three pillars of data marketers need to create effective campaigns.

About Elizabeth Smith

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