Solving Hotel Marketing Challenges with a First-Party Data Strategy

Solve your biggest hotel marketing challenges with first-party data.

March 27, 2023

Traveler expectations are higher than ever. They want to be inspired during every part of their travel journey, from the time they start exploring their next trip all the way through their hotel stay. First-party data is a great way for hoteliers to understand online traveler behavior and engage them on an individual level.

Sojern’s recent report, How Hotel Brands Are Using First-Party Data to Drive Revenue & Build Stronger Relationships, highlights just how important first-party data is for every hotel. Our research shows that 59% of hotels have implemented a first-party data strategy and 62% say it’s “very important” for digital marketing. While first-party data is important, deploying a strategy can be challenging. Here are the top three challenges around first-party data and how you can solve them.

Challenge #1: Collecting First-Party Data Is Far and Away the Biggest Challenge.

You want to enact a first-party data strategy, but collecting the data is a huge challenge. The best way to find a solution is to first determine your goals. If you want to build loyalty, focus on collecting data from loyalty programs to turn your guests into brand advocates. Our survey showed that 68% of hoteliers said first-party data helped them build better relationships.

Once you start to collect data, you can use that information to continually learn about your guests. You can build relationships with them, but only if you activate that data across touchpoints and digital channels. Use your customer profiles to tailor your offerings and rewards to ensure your message resonates with your travelers. 

If you are still unsure about how to collect first-party data, you could also consider hiring someone to focus on this initiative, whether it’s a full-time employee or a contractor. You can also increase the amount of content you produce to afford yourself more opportunities to collect data about your customers. In addition, there are a number of tools and technologies (DSPs, CDPs, etc.), as well as partners who can help. Regardless of which options you choose, remember that collecting first-party data is an investment—but it’s an investment you’ll be glad you made.

Challenge #2: Lack of Stakeholder Buy-In.

A successful first-party data strategy requires buy-in from multiple members of your team. You may also have to work with multiple departments, including your legal and loyalty teams. Some might just see it as an added expense, but stay true to your goals, and focus the stakeholders on the ROI activating first-party data will bring. With inflation, a potential recession, and the volatility of the market, proving ROI will continue to be crucial for hoteliers around the world.

Collecting first-party data is the key for hoteliers to navigate uncertainty and thrive in a cookieless world, and the benefits speak for themselves. Our report revealed that 81% of hoteliers have seen a lift in revenue; 57% have seen a lift in guest satisfaction; and 64% said it helped increase brand value. When implemented correctly, you can prove ROI with the measurable results the program provides, which should quell any reservations from your stakeholders. 

Challenge #3: Lack of Internal Expertise or Smaller Teams.

Your team may be small or lack the expertise to deploy a first-party data strategy, and that’s okay! Many of our survey respondents didn’t work alone. In fact, they most frequently reported working with technology specialists focused on the hotel industry.

We learned that Sojern clients are more than 2x as likely as non-clients to see a lift in revenue. It’s because specialists like Sojern have hospitality industry expertise and are often equipped with tools, such as machine learning algorithms and automation tools, to get multichannel campaigns off the ground. They can help you understand your travelers’ unique paths to purchase and help you navigate data privacy and compliance. Finding the right partner can be a game-changer, and often the biggest difference in finding success for your first-party data program. 

Collecting first-party data is imperative in a cookieless world. It is also the best tool you have to get to know your guests and deliver a consistent, tailored experience that keeps them coming back again and again. While implementing a first-party data program has its challenges, you can overcome these challenges. By setting goals, getting buy-in from your stakeholders, and finding the right partners, tools, and technologies, your hotel can find first-party success.

Collecting and Activating First-Party Data Into the Future

In our report, we discovered that market research is the #1 resource hotel marketers trust when planning first-party data programs. If you’re looking for more information on first-party data collection and activation, here are a few resources to continue your research:

When you’re ready to take the next step with first-party data collection, chat with one of our hotel marketing experts today.

More Articles
You Might Be Interested In

Introducing The Hotel Marketer's Playbook: Unlock the Secrets to Navigating the Marketing Funnel

Unlock the secrets to navigating the marketing funnel and drive bookings like never before.

Read More

Cookieless Marketing 101: A Destination Marketer’s Crash Course on the Cookieless World

Dive into essential strategies to navigate the cookieless world effectively.

Read More

Hoteliers in Transition: Adapting to Google's Metasearch Evolution and New DMA Regulations

Discover strategies for hoteliers navigating Google's Metasearch Evolution and new DMA regulations.

Read More

Let’s Start a Conversation

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.

Let's Talk