HospitalityNET World Panel Topic
Google is phasing out third-party cookies. Will it impact hotel marketing?
Google recently announced that they are going forward with their plan to block third-party cookie tracking through Google Chrome (Chrome commands 63% of browser market share). What this means exactly for hotel marketing is not totally clear. Mostly what will be affecting is tracking the source of revenue on a hotel’s website (also called attribution) and the possibility to re-target visitors to your hotel website (unless you use Google’s retargeting ad products). To avoid users getting hit with totally irrelevant ads, like billboards on the highway, Google is creating a new system to target users which involves less tracking. Called FLoC the system essentially groups people into categories based on their behavior and puts a label on top so they can get served ads based on those labels without having any personal information connected. However, it only works if you advertise with Google, which means they are building a taller wall around their garden – an odd choice as they enter a long anti-trust investigation process.
But what does this mean for hotel marketing? How will hotels track revenue? Since most non-major brand hotels have two domains (hotel website + booking engine) how will this affect tracking?
The reality that privacy is being placed back in the hands of the consumer is coming and wise organizations who monetize on such services need to find a way actively to prepare for that new world.
Google Cookies are an environment that has been very valuable from a targeting perspective for the hospitality industry. However, the reality that privacy is being placed back in the hands of the consumer is coming and wise organizations who monetize on such services need to find a way actively to prepare for that new world.
Just this week in Australia, Google was found against for misleading user opt in for location tracking on Android devices. The company is to be penalized as a result. There will be more of this as we move forward.
In the grand scheme of things I see it as a return to the hotel marketing world of old where there is a general target audience of people that a business aimed to reach. Although the upside will be that due to the connected nature of technology there should still be a level of circular information flow and the ability to see the results of the campaign effort in a measurable way. Albeit not down to the individual level.
I also anticipate there will be some type of opt-in approach where if the customer is willing to be more deeply engaged with a business they will be able to make that choice. More importantly they will also have direct control over removing their approval as well. The potential exists for an even deeper connection with the tribe.
On the topic of flow through from independent hotel booking engine technology to broader content management platforms and performance tracking, this has long bee a challenge for the hospitality industry. Most hotel websites technology in our industry is separate because of the disparate nature of vendor providers and software solutions. Eventually this will drive an impetus toward making the customer information the core data piece and treating the reservations (for any product or service) as a child record. This is a true CRM driven approach to the business and as we shift toward a shopping cart experience I anticipate that hospitality industry vertical tech will give way to above industry tech and improve the singular nature of this part of customer engagement and data. Such an environment is available off the shelf and largely free for many other business verticals!
Although with the new digital customer it’s not just about bookings anymore. There are also the rest of the interactions that take place through the guest journey that are also siloed in information repositories.
We’ve come a long way. We still have a long way to go! Ours the future!
TRAVHOTECH reviews a year of dialogue and opinion through contributions to HospitalityNET’s World Panel topics in 2021. We’ve been pleased to able to offer our thoughts and experience on several important topics through our participation in the World Panel in 2021. Viewpoint first published on HospitalityNET Worldpanel for Digital Marketing in April 2021.