Navigating the Future of Data and Travel Marketing
We share the recipe for travel marketer success in a cookieless world.
Real-time and historical data, machine learning techniques and a multichannel marketing strategy—that’s the recipe for travel marketer success in a cookieless world. But that’s not as simple as it sounds.To ensure our customers are ready for this change, we are building automated ways to activate the right data, finding success within walled gardens, maintaining an open web and making complex challenges manageable. It’s a difficult task, but we’re excited about the potential and want to share our thoughts on what the future looks like.
One of the key market shifts that will impact every travel marketers’ future is the demise of the third-party cookie. Cookies are a 25-year-old technology used by a wide range of internet browsers. A third-party cookie has long been the foundation of “addressable” digital advertising—targeting and tracking consumers on a 1 to 1 basis. Third-party cookies assist in tracking website visitors, collecting data, ad serving, retargeting, cross-site tracking, and most importantly, they help you drive direct bookings to your website.
For years, the advertising industry and internet privacy advocates debated phasing out the support of third-party cookies, challenged with aligning different industry players and their interests in a fragmented ad tech landscape. Motivated by various factors, including privacy and data protection legislation and a desire to identify privacy as a key brand differentiator, Apple stopped supporting third-party cookies in the Safari web browser in 2017 with intelligent tracking prevention (ITP). This change affected around 20 percent of the web browser market.
Google announced plans to no longer support third-party cookies on the Chrome web browser starting in 2023. In contrast to the Safari web browser, the Chrome web browser represents 64 percent of the market, so this move will significantly impact the industry’s ad targeting infrastructure. After Google’s change, the third-party cookie will be effectively dead, meaning the addressable advertising tactics that drive performance for advertisers like you will no longer be effective in the future.
While the 3rd party cookie impact won’t completely affect targeting tactics until 2023, smart marketers will get ahead of the curve and start driving demand with a focus on the future. Addressable targeting is targeting people we know are our audience–they can be anonymized–but we know something about them, like retargeting users based on past shopping behavior. The demise of third-party cookies requires a change in addressable advertising tactics in order to sustain healthy revenue streams from direct bookings.
For Sojern, that means sourcing real-time data from hashed emails and 1st party cookie IDs, and combining that with historical booking data:
Other major ad tech platforms such as Google, The Trade Desk (TTD), LiveRamp and Xandr have also announced various initiatives incorporating these data sources as a replacement for third-party cookies: The Trade Desk’s UID2.0, Google Customer Match, and Facebook Audiences. We work with all the major adtech players and also support an open web, so Sojern’s approach will be compatible with many other ad tech ID systems that also rely on these data sets to develop addressable targeting moving forward.
Once we’ve solved for addressable, next up is the expansion of contextual targeting. Sojern’s focus on other advertising channels, like contextual programmatic ads, search engine marketing (SEM) and metasearch, will drive cookieless demand for travel marketers in the future. Contextual targeting looks at the category or keywords of the page being viewed by the user and the ad server serves ads that are highly relevant to the content on the site. For example, if someone is searching on the Visit Florida website, then they are probably going to Florida and we can offer them relevant information to help with their search.
Lastly, with change comes new machine learning models like identity-free targeting (example: Google FLOC, which is based on common interests), which are going to be tested. Our longtime relationships with key industry players often give us early access to innovative new solutions.
We believe that these ecosystem changes support Sojern’s long-term vision to become the #1 travel marketing platform providing solutions that empower travel marketers around the world. We have been working to expand our capabilities beyond third-party cookies for the past few years, including powerful channels that don’t use third-party cookies (like SEM and metasearch), as well as putting systems in place that will use hashed email and historical booking data as a replacement for third-party cookies.
The new cookieless ecosystem is complex, will continue to evolve, and will prove challenging for some travel marketers to keep up with the pace of change. Sojern is committed to helping our customers by trying to stay one step ahead of the changes, and by simplifying the new world of digital advertising. We will continue to focus on innovative strategies that will help travel marketers drive demand and be resilient to change.
To prepare now, the first step will be for travel marketers to ensure that their website and booking engine are passing hashed email data and 1st party data. This data will bolster addressable advertising in the futureーSojern can help. Rest assured, we have the systems and processes in place to make this shift as quick and seamless as possible for our customers. The next step is to activate new advertising tactics that will drive demand in a cookieless world.
In a future blog, we'll share a breakdown of our cookieless world solutions and how they can help travel marketers like you drive success in 2022 and beyond. Connect with one of our experts today to get started on a smooth cookieless world transition.
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“With any product and service, you have to spend time and resources to grow your customer base. Sojern provides us with an extremely effective way to increase our direct bookings and maximize guest lifetime value. The platform delivers impressive results, achieved with minimal time and resources invested by the team. It's a great product and service that I never have to sell to ownership–the results speak for themselves. Sojern seamlessly integrates into our marketing distribution, freeing us up to focus on other initiatives. When a program performs this well, I know we're making the right marketing investments.”
“Sojern is the top performing conversion partner that we've run for travel specific activities. I would definitely recommend investigating how to work with Sojern to my agency peers with travel clients. Their team is really proactive, and very quick on everything we need. We value the great quality in terms of reports and support the team provides, and on top of that, we also see activities perform incredibly well. So clearly, there's a lot going on in the back end to make sure we're hitting and meeting all of Sandals’ KPIs.”
“We were seeking a partner that could help us increase our direct booking share and reach, as well as overcome seasonality challenges. We looked at Sojern, which was very well recommended, and I can definitely say we made the right choice. Working with Sojern is so easy and reliable and the entire process is incredibly smooth and straightforward. Since joining Sojern we consistently convert new guests looking to visit the Caribbean, regardless of seasonality.”
“Working with Sojern, it’s not just a cookie-cutter solution, as Sojern listens to our needs and recommends what’s best for our hotel. We have someone to bounce ideas off of, and Sojern gives us a higher-level perspective on how we can get the best value for our investment.”
“We love the simplicity of the solution and how clearly we can see results. The technology works so well that it leaves us to do our other day-to-day jobs. We are seeing increased interest in our superior and deluxe rooms as a result, which is improving the overall average booking value. I think we will be long-time customers for as long as Sojern continues to perform the way it does today!”
We’re ready to help you take the guesswork out of your digital marketing. Contact us to tap into the travel industry’s most intelligent marketing platform.