Travel agencies

Apple’s privacy changes could give big online travel agencies more leverage


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Skift take

Personalization initiatives aside, Apple’s privacy changes are a big win for travelers, but a big headache for online travel agencies. The result is that the bigger players have the potential to gain an advantage over the smaller competitors.

Dennis schaal

Travel online this week

Apples privacy changes are becoming a marketing and personalization puzzle in the travel industry, but they could further strengthen larger online travel agencies with access to huge amounts of first party data compared to smaller competitors.

“We believe this means major consumer travel brands with mass distribution and scale to develop smart, data-driven marketing will win,” said Clayton Reid, CEO of MMGY Global. ” And of course, Google and Apple will build distinct – and perhaps different – ecosystems that will force marketers to create different methods of engaging in a specific and organized way.

Reid said marketers have already found that their ability to target travel audiences based on mobile user data in the United States and globally is reduced by 40 and 25 percent, respectively.

This means that large players who collect first-party data from their large audiences or use permission-based models, rather than relying on third-party data of reduced value, will have an advantage in terms of marketing effectiveness. and operating loyalty programs, he said.

Asked whether online travel agencies, meta-search companies, or hotels will gain a relative advantage over each other as a result of Apple’s changes, Kayak Co-Founder and CEO Steve Hafner said, “We’re all going to be affected by this. First, it complicates customer acquisition by making it harder to target users based on their past behavior and creating “like” audiences. Second, it makes personalization trickier as more and more users become anonymous. “

Access to customer data is probably becoming more of an overloaded problem. The hospitality industry has long felt wronged that large online travel agencies do not share guest data with hotels when guests book their properties on websites such as Expedia, Price line Where DoMyTravel.

One of the purported benefits for hotels of Tripadvisor Plus, the membership program that allowed hotels to offer guests deep discounts in exchange for otherwise commission-free bookings, was that Tripadvisor was going to share customer data with hoteliers. A revamped Tripadvisor Plus, currently being tested and offering travelers cash backs at check-in instead of booking discounts, will also share guest data with hotels if they participate directly in the program. Tripadvisor will, however, access many properties through aggregators such as Trip.com, for example, and hotels involved in this type of third-party transaction will not obtain their guest data.

Facebook said its third quarter results were affected by Apple’s privacy changes.

In the travel industry, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said last week on his own earnings conference call that the company had not been affected by Apple’s tracking changes. “No, we haven’t seen any impact on Airbnb, and that’s not really the area we’re in,” Chesky said.

Werner Kunz, CEO of Fareportal, who operates cheapOair and OneTravel, said her business may be less affected than some of its peers as it focuses its marketing on “retention channels,” such as its apps and loyalty program.

Kunz said CheapOair relies heavily on its own data from customers using both desktop and mobile computers, although it also accesses the tapes of marketing information on search and booking trends. sector from global distribution systems.

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