The End of Third-Party Cookies and the Rise of First-Party Data for Hotels

How Hotel Marketers Can Thrive in a First-Party Data Landscape


For over two decades, third-party cookies have been a cornerstone of hotel marketing strategies, enabling marketing activities like guest behavior tracking, targeted campaigns, and optimized ad performance. However, the winds of change are blowing, and a significant shift is underway. Hospitality marketers need to be prepared. The answer? First-party data for hotels. 

The End of Third-Party Cookies: A Privacy-Driven Revolution 

Google’s announcement to phase out third-party cookie support in Chrome by the end of 2024, following similar moves by Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari, marks a turning point. This change reflects a growing emphasis on consumer privacy, and with only 1 in 3 consumers confident that companies are using their data responsibly [Source: McKinsey], modern consumers are increasingly wary of intrusive tracking practices, and browsers are responding by blocking third-party cookies to protect user trust and data security. 

The Impact on Hotel Marketing  

This shift challenges hotel marketers accustomed to leveraging third-party data for audience targeting and campaign measurement – almost 60% of all hotel bookings are made online [Source: Hospitalitynet]. Marketers can no longer rely on external sources to track guest behavior across the web. However, this doesn’t spell doom. Instead, it’s an opportunity to prioritize a more sustainable and guest-centric approach: leveraging first-party data for hotels. 

Understanding the Power of First-Party Data 

Hotel chains already possess a treasure trove of first-party data – information collected directly through guest interactions. These sources include reservation systems, loyalty programs, website analytics, and guest surveys. By harnessing this data effectively, hotels can gain invaluable insights into guest behavior, preferences, and lifetime value. 

 

Marketing meeting on first-party data for hotels.

First-Party Data for Hotels

RFM Analysis: A North Star for First-Party Data 

Recency, Frequency, and Monetary Value (RFM) analysis is a powerful tool for understanding guest value. RFM categorizes guests based on how recently they stayed (Recency), how often they stay (Frequency), and the total revenue they generate (Monetary Value). This segmentation allows hotels to tailor marketing messages and offers that resonate with specific guest segments. 

Benefits of First-Party Data for Hotel Marketing 
  • Control and Accuracy: Unlike third-party data, which can be aggregated and potentially inaccurate, RFM data is collected in a controlled set of systems, giving greater control and a true reflection of guest behavior. 
  • Targeted and Relevant Marketing: By leveraging RFM insights, hotels can create highly relevant campaigns that resonate with specific guest segments, leading to higher conversion rates. 
  • Privacy Compliance: As data privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA become stricter, relying on guest consent-based first-party data maintains compliance and trust.
9 Tips For Hotel Marketers in the First-Party Data Era 
  1. Optimize First-Party Cookies: Make the most of first-party cookies to understand guest preferences and behaviors. Ensure your website tracks the right information and your systems collect the right data.  
  2. Keep Data Clean: Match and Merge behavioral and event data to profiles, removing duplicates and keeping data up to date across all systems with two-way communication.  
  3. Invest in a Customer Data Platform (CDP): A CDP centralizes and cleanses first-party data from various sources, providing a holistic view of each guest. This empowers marketers with deeper guest understanding and personalized campaign execution. 
  4. Utilize Historical Booking Data: Tap into historical booking data to identify patterns and preferences, enabling targeted marketing strategies. 
  5. Leverage CRM (or CDP) Retargeting: Use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or CDP for retargeting campaigns based on previous guest interactions. 
  6. Implement AI & ML Segmentation: Embrace AI and Machine Learning for advanced guest segmentation, uncovering hidden clusters and opportunities for engaging guests.  
  7. Use AI-Powered Churn Management: Spot and stop guest churn before it happens with the power of AI.  
  8. Focus on Higher-Value Prospects: Concentrate marketing efforts on higher-value guest segments by analyzing their behaviors and preferences based on RFM analysis powered by first-party data.  
  9. Enhance Communication with Customization: Use Ireckonu’s communication center for personalized, data-driven communication. While ensuring compliance through a centralized subscription center that syncs seamlessly with connected systems. 

 

Hotel marketing meeting with coffee

First-Party Data for the Future

The Future of Hotel Marketing: A Guest-Centric Approach

Although the decline of third-party cookies may seem challenging, it also allows hotel marketers to build stronger, more meaningful relationships with their guests. Hotels can create truly personalized experiences that drive engagement, loyalty, and long-term success by prioritizing first-party data collection, leveraging guest insights, and embracing new technologies.  By prioritizing first-party data collection, building strong customer relationships, and leveraging new technologies like a Hospitality CDP, hotel marketers will be confident navigating the changing landscape and continue to drive success.

Enabling Personalized Marketing Strategies that Drive Guest Engagement and Revenue Growth 

Ireckonu’s Customer Data Platform (CDP) empowers hotels to collect, centralize, and analyze first-party data, enabling personalized marketing strategies that drive guest engagement and revenue growth. Here’s how Ireckonu’s CDP helps: 

  • Unified Guest Profiles. Consolidate data from all guest touchpoints, including reservations, loyalty programs, website behavior, and guest surveys, into a single, unified profile. This 360-degree view allows marketers to understand guest preferences and tailor experiences accordingly. 
  • Understand Tue Guest Value. Recognize and report on revenue from all business areas and spot new opportunities. Guests who may dine at a restaurant but don’t stay at the hotel present ample opportunities to convert to new bookings.  
  • Advanced Segmentation. Move beyond basic demographics and leverage RFM analysis and AI-powered segmentation to identify high-value guests and create targeted campaigns for distinct guest segments. 
  • Increased ROI. Focus on personalized marketing that resonates with guests, hotels experience higher conversion rates, increased guest loyalty, and, ultimately, greater revenue growth.
Ireckonu Team

Ireckonu: Your Partner in the First-Party Data Era 

Ireckonu is here to help hotel chains navigate the changing digital marketing landscape. Our CDP empowers you to unlock the true potential of your first-party data and deliver exceptional guest experiences. 

Contact us to see how Ireckonu’s CDP helps hotels unlock the power of first-party data.