A Guide for Independent Hotels: Navigating the Hotel Marketing Landscape With Cookieless Durable Channels

Explore strategies for independent hotels navigating the cookieless era.

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March 1, 2024

Google's decision to remove third-party cookies from its Chrome browser has sent shockwaves through the advertising industry. Max Starkov, a seasoned hospitality and online travel tech-consultant and strategist, believes that independent hotel marketers will bear the brunt of this seismic shift. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it's shining on first-party data and CRM technology.

Google's Third-Party Cookie Removal: The Why and the Impact

Google's decision to eliminate third-party cookies isn't solely driven by user privacy or regulatory compliance. Rather, it's motivated by the realization that they no longer rely on them. With an expansive database containing billions of logged-in users and their first-party data, both Google and Facebook have built what's called a 'walled garden', which holds intricate insights into their customer base. This control extends to more than 50% of global advertising spending, underscoring their dominance within digital advertising. For hotel marketers, eliminating third-party cookies underscores the importance of first-party data. 

Established hotel giants and massive travel platforms are equipped with extensive first-party data reservoirs. Their well-structured data encompasses booking histories, preferences, and demographic information, enabling personalized marketing strategies and tailored guest experiences. Supported by sophisticated technology infrastructure, these industry leaders are well-positioned to adapt to the post-cookie era. 

In contrast, smaller and independent hotel establishments may find themselves at a disadvantage. Lacking the scale and resources of their larger counterparts, they may struggle to collect, centralize, and effectively utilize first-party data. As a result, they face greater challenges in adapting to the cookieless world and optimizing their marketing strategies.

First-Party Data: The New Gold Standard in Hospitality

First-party data in hospitality is considered the gold standard as it comprises customer information collected directly from your interactions with guests. This data is inherently more reliable and accurate since it originates from your own channels, such as its website, booking engine, or loyalty program. You can gather valuable insights into guest preferences, behaviors, and booking patterns, allowing for more personalized and targeted marketing campaigns. Here are a few things you can learn from first-party data:

  • Website Interaction Data: Information on how guests interact with the hotel's website, including pages visited, duration of visits, and actions taken (such as making a reservation or signing up for newsletters).
  • Ad Engagement Metrics: Data on the performance of digital advertisements, including click-through rates, impressions, and conversions, provides insights into the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and audience engagement.
  • Audience Segmentation: Segmented data on website visitors and ad viewers based on demographics, interests, behavior, and booking history enables hotels to target specific audience segments with personalized messages and offers.
  • Conversion Data: Details of guests who have completed desired actions, such as making a reservation, signing up for promotions, or joining loyalty programs, help track campaign effectiveness and measure return on investment (ROI).
  • Retargeting Data: Information on users who have interacted with ads but have not yet converted allows hotels to retarget these users with relevant messaging to encourage them to complete desired actions.

But how can you manage this goldmine of first-party data? Investing in CRM technology, and guest appreciation and reward programs is the answer.

The Power of CRM Technology

A CRM system empowers you to gather, organize, and oversee all your hotel's first-party customer data, whether sourced online or offline. It automatically refines, enhances, and supplements this data in real time, establishing a comprehensive visitor profile for each guest. This wealth of information can be leveraged across various guest touchpoints, including guest communications, CRM outreach, marketing automation, drip campaigns, email marketing, personalized interactions, digital initiatives, and loyalty programs.

Note: The Sojern Guest Marketing Suite is a standout platform within CRM technology in hospitality. Our tool empowers independent hotels to not just use, but truly capitalize on their first-party data. With its advanced features, you can craft highly personalized marketing campaigns that not only engage but also deeply resonate with travelers. With Sojern, you are not just communicating with guests—you’re curating unforgettable journeys and setting new standards in hospitality marketing.

While Google's removal of third-party cookies may seem daunting for independent hotel marketers, it presents an opportunity to refocus on first-party data, invest in CRM technology, and build more direct, meaningful relationships with customers.

Work with our hotel marketing experts today to make the most of your data in a post-cookie era.

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