Is the “death” of cookies worrying for travel marketers?

05:40:23 - October 21, 2021

Travel marketing in the near future will have many changes due to the impact of the pandemic on travelers’ behavior, advertising budgets, and especially the cookie block policy of the tech giants. So, how are travel marketers looking at the future of travel marketing?

Recently, Sojern partnered with Worldwide Business Research to conduct a survey with 300 global travel marketing leaders about the growth prospects of travel marketing and their views on the cookieless world. The cookie in technology is defined as files created by the website you visit. Third-party cookies created by other websites. These websites own some of the content such as advertisements or images that you see on the website you visit. Senior decision makers participating in the survey are working in the Hospitality (72%), Attractions (21%) and Tourism (7%) sectors.

With consumers’ growing awareness of privacy and data security issues, changes in third-party data policy by major tech companies, as well as user protection regulations such as GDPR, travel marketers must change their marketing strategies in the future, using customer data more responsibly to create authentic online experiences for them.

According to the report, 62% of companies have a high or very high priority regarding readiness around the cookieless world. With that limitation of customer data, travel marketers will have to change the way they harness consumer information to optimize their campaigns.

However, a cookieless world may not be a concern for travel marketers. The percentage of respondents who think that the change in cookies policy could have a significant negative impact in all four regions was 5% or less. Meanwhile, the percentage who think that this change brings a significant positive impact is 2% (Europe), 5% (the Middle East & Africa), 10% (Asia – Pacific), and 11% (North America).

Most notably, almost half of the leaders surveyed said this would have a positive impact on their marketing performance. Europe is the most optimistic region with 51% agreeing with this view. This rate in Asia-Pacific is 43%, in North America is 49% and in Middle East & Africa is 50%.

Explaining this optimism, according to travel marketers, current technology can provide the required customizations for a new future of marketing, and organizations can work together to achieve new ID management solutions. Marketers also argue that data tracking abilities are now more advanced than third party cookies as companies can actively collect user information by offering discounts or promotions to encourage customers to subscribe to newsletters and updates from the company. Even as cookies is gotten rid of, marketers believe that direct ways to reach consumers such as brand presence on social media channels or customer service activities can still drive these businesses forward. And the last reason is optimizing the customer experience by doing extensive market research and based on their previous purchases to provide tailored suggestions for them.

According to Dave Goulden, Sojern’s Vice President of Product, “We see great opportunity in the move away from third-party cookies. […] First-party data is a brand’s strongest weapon in cookieless.”

“A brand’s past customers are usually the best-performing audience they will target. Increasingly, it’s important to use digital channels like social, video, and display to reach customers as email open rates rapidly shrink and valuable younger travelers shun email altogether in favor of social and video channels.”

 The policy of eliminating cookies has attracted attention recently, however, many marketers see this as an opportunity for experiments and innovations in digital marketing strategies of the travel industry. Many brands feel prepared with alternative ways to reach consumers directly. In a cookieless world, the future of personalization-focused advertising technology will likely be shaped by Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

Is the “death” of cookies worrying for travel marketers?


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