How to Rethink Marketing Strategies with First-Party Data in Mind

Weronika Czekaj

The Importance of Building a First-Party Data Strategy
in a Post-Cookie World

As we transition into a world without third-party cookies, travel and tourism advertisers must navigate new regulations along with device and platform changes and, most importantly, the direct impact on their current marketing strategies.

In this blog post, we advise both hoteliers and destination marketing organizations (DMOs) on how to rethink campaigns focused on first-party data to ensure brand privacy while maximizing digital advertising opportunities. However, as with all personal data usage, it is critical that you work with your legal advisors to ensure your collection and use of personal data is in compliance with applicable regulations.

What is first-party data and how can it be used?

First-party data is the information collected from an audience using technology solutions and data owned by a brand. Every user touchpoint that is tracked offers an opportunity to learn more about customers and build a stronger relationship with them. Customers determine what personal data they are willing to share. The content and process of this data collection will differ from brand to brand and may involve cookies, pixels or other tracking tools.  But no matter how this data is collected, it’s crucial to have the necessary framework, governance and tools to manage that data.

Building a compliant first-party data strategy

Leveraging first-party data is key to understanding how customers are interacting with a brand. It’s also crucial to decide which touchpoints should be tracked during the user journey in order to achieve marketing objectives, while ensuring privacy. Before collecting data, implement a data collection framework that aligns with local data privacy regulations and with company data privacy policies as well as a data governance process to manage the processing, use and deletion of the data.

There are four primary types of cookies used to collect data. Technology must also be provided to let users consent to data collection by opting in and out as necessary. As always, consult your legal advisors about this framework. Here are the four primary types of cookies:

  • Strictly necessary cookies – These are essential for users to browse the website.
  • Functional cookies – These enable functionality or improve the customer experience such as helping websites remember preferences of users.
  • Performance cookies – These collect information about how a user navigates through a website.
  • Advertising cookies – These help with advertising to users.

It is necessary to develop and implement terms and policies outlining your data collection framework and governance.  The documentation generally includes at least:

    1. Terms and conditions – This outlines the terms that the user and the website agree are legally binding regarding the website.
    2. Privacy policy – This governs an organization or entity’s handling of personal information.

Here are some examples of first-party data types Amadeus customers process today:

Website data
Understand user behavior
Discovering when and how often a website is visited is just a small fraction of what can really be gained from this type of data. Hotels and DMOs that feature and promote travel inspiration or transactional content on their websites can collect information on website interactions using first-party cookies, and preferences with tools such as Google Analytics. All of that data should be collected with consent and become first-party data that can later feed media campaigns. Appropriate consent capturing, tagging, and tracking are a must for these activities to operate as part of a privacy compliant framework. Only in this way can your marketing opportunities be enhanced with this type of behavioral data.

CRM and PMS data
Understand customer audiences and their needs
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Property Management System (PMS) data can extend beyond the booking information of past guests and should include descriptive, qualitative, and quantitative data that is often sourced from other services that are offered with the guest’s consent, like spas or restaurants.

A CRM is truly a beating heart of a business so ensure that your CRM data is accurate and conforms to data privacy policies. Accurate data will provide a better understanding of who your customers are, what they need, what they liked, when they engaged with the brand, and will ultimately benefit your marketing efforts and their experience. That data can be leveraged in order to launch effective messaging or prepare the right types of packages and promotions to better serve customer needs. For example, if a past guest enjoyed the spa, offering a spa voucher with a discounted room night might be a very enticing offer.

The PMS will also house guest data. This data may be collected at check-in or other touch points of the guest experience.  Consent is also generally required to use this data for sales and marketing purposes, so all data collection should be performed in accordance with guidance from your counsel and company policies. Investing in technology that combines this data with a CRM tool and utilizing it as part of digital marketing campaigns can set a brand’s media strategy apart from their competitors.

Newsletter subscriber data
Reach customers and potential prospects
Reaching customers and potential prospects with news about promotions offered by a hotel in a timely manner is key. Segmenting subscriber data enables a brand to address the right audience with the right message. Tapping into newsletter metrics and constantly optimizing will set a brand on that impactful path. And, of course, consult with your legal advisors as newsletter subscriber data needs to be privacy compliant with regulations such as GDPR and CAN-SPAM.

Social media profile data
Identify the audience
Nearly 60% of the world’s population uses social media and that usage continues to grow. That’s why it’s important to understand who is interacting with the brand and how to reach them through social media platforms with targeted and customized campaigns. Learning more about the target audience from this data type will help identify the right audience and to craft the right digital media strategies. By learning about audience socio-demographic characteristics, personal interests, or lifestyle, you can later drive branding, digital media strategy, or shape influencer marketing for maximum impact. Certain data can also be used to actively advertise to followers within social media channel platforms.

At Amadeus – Data Privacy Comes First

When we talk about data privacy, we talk about trust. At Amadeus we take data privacy and security regulations very seriously and continuously look to implement key technical changes needed to stay compliant with privacy updates rolled out by our the partners.

When working with our customers, we leverage their first-party data insights, where available, to benefit their marketing strategies and help to optimize and maximize their performance.

We complement campaign planning, targeting, and audience modeling with our extensive proprietary Amadeus travel insights. Our wealth of data ranges from online air search data to agency bookings to market level occupancy data. We also offer solutions to help hotels optimize such as CRM solutions like Guest Management Solutions (GMS).

Implementing the latest privacy enhancements and tools to comply with the increasingly changing privacy landscape is also our priority.

It’s not just about marketing though! At Amadeus, we also provide solutions to help hoteliers acquire, convert, and retain guests, while collecting first-party data and efficiently managing the nuts and bolts of their distribution strategy, web engagement, and guest communications.

As countries around the world progressively open borders and ease restrictions, travel is picking up. Visit our
Rebuild Travel portal for complimentary resources on planning for the return of group and business travel, as well as global market insights, refreshed weekly.