Dear hotel professional,
I'M SPEAKING TO YOU
I have a system that solves the confusion around making best use of guest data for hotel marketing whilst respecting data protection and privacy.
This is a new approach. Developed in response to the frustration and exasperation expressed by hoteliers and hotel marketers. It is for those who want to position their hotel to take advantage of the modern data economy. To be trusted by more customers, more often while respecting data privacy to reap the rewards of that trust.
You are entering a time when your ability to survive and thrive will depend on your ability to make better use of guest data. You will need new data and privacy management skills if you are going to achieve this. This system will give you those new skills.
It is new, yet it uses the solid anchors of essential marketing activities which have been around for decades. You will recognise them when you see them. They are brought up to date by combining them with practical and useful data protection and privacy management techniques.
Why this combination of old and new? Well you can’t base your strategy for the next couple of years on the shifting sands of hotel and marketing technologies. No matter how much the vendors of these technologies might insist that you should, the pace of change in technology makes it difficult for you to keep up. You need to be on top of all this, which means you need to base your efforts on something steady, reliable, relevant and above all easy to understand.
This way, your approach has a much better chance of working.
What are you doing now to make the most of the opportunities 2023 will offer your hotel?
There will still be challenges, of course there will. Prices for everything are going up, skills are scarce and the prospects for energy to heat and light your hotel are unpredictable.
The world has gone mad. Again.
You are facing a downturn. A period where your sales and profits are under severe pressure. Those who make it through this downturn successfully will be the ones who decide to take action, to do something different, now.
There have been downturns before. I have experienced several of them,
The one thing you can safely predict is that there is going to be a downturn...
Yet despite all those downturns and challenges, here we are.
And here you are. There are always survivors, there are always businesses that make it through the dark times. There are even a few hotel businesses which positively thrive.
Every time there has been a downturn there have been more losers than winners. Yet there have always been winners. Those winners looked for ways to get closer to customers.
Often they succeeded because all those around them stopped looking.
95% will read this and think “getting going” is the absolute last thing they should be doing right now.
They had big plans post-Covid. However they believe now is the time to cut costs, clench everything and ride it out. Batten down the hatches. Hope and pray things turn out better.
You might be thinking that too.
But the mindset you need now (which very few people will adopt) is that NOW is the time to act. To take action on what you want to achieve and not pull back.
Most people are going to ignore this. The fact that most will ignore it is why it’s so valuable to those who heed these words.
Most will dither. They will nurse their anxieties. Numb themselves to their options by paying too much attention to news bulletins and trade press obsessing about recession, interest payments, payroll, workforce and energy costs.
They will align their beliefs with systems which are already struggling. And will burn them out sooner.
This is how they will miss their opportunity.
That’s why I wanted to convey what my experience has been in times like this. And that for the hotel industry recovery belongs to those who get closer to customers, quicker than the competition.
2023 does offer you one, big opportunity
It will offer you the means to pay for whatever you need to do to survive. To make sales, to generate the cash flow and profits you need to justify the choices you make today.
You see, 2023 will bring new expectations from your customers. There will be changes in the way they expect their personal data to be used. This has serious implications for your ability to sell to them and if you embrace it will help to set you apart from your competition.
How do we know this? Well it has already started. The balance of power is moving. The transformation is underway and has been throughout 2022.
The worrying part is that the hotel industry appears to be blissfully unaware that customer attitudes and expectations are changing – and changing rapidly.
The exciting part from your point of view is that the hotel industry appears to be blissfully unaware that customer attitudes and expectations are changing – and today you have a choice: You can choose to set your hotel apart from the others.
You can get your business on to the pitch and be part of the transformation; or you can watch from the side-lines.
You can’t change the attitude of an entire industry sector. What you can do is take advantage of the information available to you to place your hotel where it needs to be to compete and exploit the situation.
To get you closer to more valuable customers than your competitors.
Yes. It has been underway for several years but remained hidden during the Covid pandemic. No surprises there, the industry was on its knees and many hotels have never recovered. Ironically, it is some of the outcomes of Covid for the hotel industry that are causing the rapid pace of change which takes effect in 2023.
Let me explain.
Data drives business. The coming months are going to belong to the hotels where this is understood and action has been taken to “privacy enable” sales and marketing processes – all those databases you have, all that prospect and guest data you collect, all that tech you invested in.
We’re not in 2018 anymore. The systems and methods you put in place to comply with the GDPR will not work for you in 2023. The truth is most of them probably didn’t work all that well back in 2018 but because you were encouraged to focus on “compliance” instead of “getting closer to your customers” this problem hasn’t reared its ugly head until now.
The reason those systems and methods won’t work in 2023 is that they fail to deal directly with your prospects and customers. Which means they do nothing to generate trust.
These outdated, superficial approaches to data protection and privacy fail to recognise that when people are interested in visiting your hotel they need to know you can be trusted with their personal data. In 2023, if they don’t trust you, they won’t make that booking.
And whilst many capable industry operators have recognised that “data protection” represents the “number 1” priority risk to their organisations they have failed to recognise that using personal data is a critical part of their sales and marketing.
So their published privacy information has been written by their risk managers and lawyers. It hasn’t been recognised for what it should be – a critical part of your selling process as you try to find and convert customers into cash.
Which is why most published hotel “privacy policies” are mind-numbingly boring and nobody ever reads them. And if they do read them they are left none the wiser about whether or not they should trust a hotel with their custom.
You need to answer the question, “why should I trust you?” in the mind of the buyer. Which doesn’t happen if you communicate using backside covering legal boilerplate.
For me, as a business and marketing experienced privacy professional, this is just one indicator of deeper-seated problems which are likely to be lurking beneath the surface at your hotel. Problems which are putting the brakes on your ability to convert enquiries, develop customer value and find new guests. Critical data protection or privacy foundations are either poorly maintained or missing altogether. Which means your ability to use personal data to make sales is suffering. All day. Every day. Until you choose to do something about it.
Hotels are unique when compared with other types of business. You get to see the customer for a prolonged period of time. It is an intimate setting. They are under your care for many hours, days, even weeks. Throughout that period, you collect information about them. Their behaviour is recorded. The guest has no respite.
You collect all that information, it becomes quite a responsibility. Can you be trusted with it?
Back in 2018, with the focus being on “compliance” it was enough that you acknowledged what you did. Your customers and guests were less aware of your obligations to protect their personal data and uphold their privacy rights.
Now, as we approach 2023, that is no longer the case.
Your customers and guests know how to wrest back control over how their personal data is collected and used. Operators in competing sectors – for example the retail industry – have shown them what the future looks like.
These operators had to do this because, like you, they needed to use personal data to make sales and generate cash. Like you, they are often competing for finite disposable income.
Unlike you, they put the customer front and centre of their data protection and privacy management. Unlike you, they put personalisation in the hands of the individual.
The good ones are now capable of a speed of response and quality of experience the hotel industry can only dream of. With sales to match.
If you don’t believe me, go and look at two things on your website:
What happens when you do these things?
How does it feel to be your customer?
On the strength of the evidence, would you trust you with your own data and booking?
This matters because your prospects and customers want to make use of their personal data (and so does the ICO as the regulator, and so do you).
They want to share some of it with you because you have something they want.
They recognise that if they want the value (the experience you offer) they desire, they’re going to have to exchange some of it with you.
They also know exactly what they need to satisfy themselves that their personal data is going to be safe, secure and used legally. Then they make their own decision.
More than that, they now know exactly what to do if a hotel doesn’t put them first and look after their data properly. If you’re lucky all they will do is complain to the regulator or join a legal action against you when things go wrong.
If you are unlucky, they simply won’t trust you. Even before anything actually goes wrong. They won’t trust you with their data, they won’t make that booking with you. It will go somewhere else. You will not earn the cash flow and profit you need.
That low trust happens all the time. Unlike regulators or law courts it doesn’t need to wait for a data protection incident or a breach. It is permanent, the default position.
You see the real risk to you - the realistic, immediate one - is much more dangerous than regulator fines or the award of legal damages. The real risk to you is the cost of acquiring, then losing a customer. Or of not being able to find them at all – they won’t trust you with their information because you failed to convince them how much they matter to you.
There is one more related risk. The opportunity cost of you not being able to use the personal data you have already collected to make more sales. Repeat sales to existing customers are the cheapest, most profitable sales you can make. You already know this. So why run the risk of not being trusted enough to make those sales?
Inert databases and bunged up sales processes, caused by data not being privacy enabled to take advantage of trust, mean you can be drowning in tech and data but starving for sales.
Your prospects and customers now have a thing called “agency”.
It has always been there, now they have the means to exercise it effectively – and quickly.
They have always had choice. They have always been able to choose whether or not to make a booking with you. Now they are more demanding of the information they need to make their decision – to choose whether or not to trust you. This is their power.
Data protection regulations, in particular the GDPR, give individuals that power and force organisations to respect it.
Now, as we reach 2023, your customers and guests are themselves much more aware of the value, power and safety of their personal data. They know how to manipulate and deploy this to their own advantage – and they expect those with whom they would share it to be “privacy respectful”. To be trustworthy.
Which is where your opportunity lies for 2023. To find more guests and make more sales by being respectful of personal data and able to prove that you are. To rid yourself of all that confusion about data protection and “privacy enable” your marketing and sales for success.
If you don’t take advantage of your opportunity, how are you going to mitigate the risk of your own inaction?
Your previous experience with data protection and privacy probably means you are concerned about the transformation involved. After all, there was a lot of work involved to put together your data protection systems back in 2018.
The whole subject is no less confusing now than it was then, only if you allow it to be so. Now the stakes are higher. This is about commercial reality and survival, much more than “compliance”.
Which is why hotelDPO approaches this with you from the point of view of your own sales and marketing. By concentrating on what all this means for both parties involved:
All using objectives you will recognise straight away – your four sales and marketing priorities:
These are four activities you are already doing. You will transform each of them by clearly understanding how to embrace common sense data protection and privacy methods. In this way “compliance” happens as a happy by-product of what you’re doing, instead of it being the end in itself.
And you are earning the resources you need to maintain it all.
This is why you never achieved the traction you needed from your previous data protection and privacy efforts. This is a fluid subject area. It regularly changes shape and interpretation. If you restrict yourself to the notion of “compliance” alone, it becomes annoying and confusing.
Compliance alone is not sustainable. Which is perhaps one reason why your privacy management hasn’t kept pace since 2018 – confusion and uncertainty causes some of us to delay decisions. Which is understandable.
Yet now you need to move things forward. You need to privacy enable your collection, use and storage of personal data if you want to take advantage of it. So to help make this easier for you to achieve, it is anchored firmly in the sales and marketing activities so familiar to you.
The transformation starts by recognising where you are today. The data collection and processing activities you carry out on a daily basis and the plans you have for the days, weeks and months ahead.
Then with small steps, taken regularly, you will quickly move towards your own future. You will create the conditions on which successful use of guest data will rely, tailored to your hotel.
You will learn what each of the steps looks like and how to take them. You will decide for yourself just how quickly you need to take them. This is up to you once you understand the basic skills – you decide. Based on the needs of your hotel and the scope you have to practice and gain the confidence you need to carry them out.
It is this confidence which is very much a part of the “future you” we want to help you achieve. New knowledge and skills can only be deployed successfully if you have the confidence to use them. And that takes practice.
The outcome is that your hotel can make more use of personal data for successful sales and marketing. Using data protection and privacy management to support your efforts, moving away from confusion, uncertainty or inertia and towards confidence, assurance and regular action.
You will know how to demonstrate your respect for people’s personal data because it will be central to the way you do things.
You will exist to please individuals, not regulators. There are many more individuals than there are regulators – and it is those individuals that you want to visit your hotel.
Do you want to benefit from the data economy?
You must prove to those individuals that you can by trusted with their personal information and that you have the systems and methods in place to protect their interests.
You must move beyond “compliance” and start to realise the benefits of playing a positive role in the modern data economy.
In this way the changes in the data and digital market will work for you, not to you.
Instead of falling victim to them you will be able to control them.
The transformation starts with a training and coaching course.
There are two options for you to choose from:
Each type of course is carefully structured to offer manageable amounts of information.
Both modes of learning offer tutor-led follow up “community” sessions held online, monthly for six months after the initial training is complete.
These offer the flexibility to support your own practice for your particular situation at your hotel. The lasting learning is in what you do after you have completed the initial course.
Here’s the process we go through in the training
Session 1: Let’s talk about you.
Personalise the rest of the training and agree your own objectives for what you want to achieve. (This starts even before the course starts)
Session 2: Understanding people.
A look at the individual, how they decide whether or not to trust your hotel and what you can do about it. Introducing the concept of Individual Privacy Judgement (IPJ).
Session 3: Let’s talk about “Trust”.
How trust works, why the word is over-used and the particular type of trust we are seeking to develop with this training.
Session 4: Foundation – The data protection principles.
What they are, what they really mean, why they matter and how they are relevant to your hotel. Establishing control over your use of personal data.
Session 5: Enabler 1 – How to privacy enable Convert Current Enquiries.
They know you, you might know them. Why this matters above all else. How data protection and privacy can support conversion. The current conversion status of your hotel and where your quick wins might be.
Session 6: Enabler 2 - How to privacy enable Get More From Existing Customers.
They know you, you know them. This is where personalisation happens. How to enable the use of personal data. The importance of lifetime value, why you need to be careful, what you can and cannot do.
Session 7: Enabler 3 - How to privacy enable Bring Back Old Business.
They knew you, you knew them. How to revive and activate old databases. Knowing when to cut your losses. The dangers when reviving old relationships.
Session 8: Enabler 4 - How to privacy enable Find and Make New Customers.
They don’t know you, you don’t know them. Why these are the most expensive guests you can create, why you need them at any price and how to make that work for you. Finding your path through data protection and privacy to support new customer acquisition.
Session 9: Enclosure - Data Protection Rights.
How to uphold the privacy rights of your prospects, customers and guests. How to approach data subject rights in a positive way.
Session 10: Bonus - The Privacy Tactical Triangle.
A tool to help you understand IPJ, why personal data is subject to gravity, the delivery and consumption of privacy, the economics of privacy and the tactical reward.
Session 11: Let’s talk about you again.
Objectives review. Have you achieved what you set out to achieve?
Session 12: Next steps.
Going back to work, practice and application. Ongoing community support.
There must be tangible benefits for you. You need to know these courses will work.
Which is why we provide a full guarantee. In fact, a double guarantee. Here’s how it works.
As noted above, there is ongoing, tutor-led support for six months after the initial training is completed. If you find that you’re not getting the transformation or traction you thought you would as you seek to embrace data protection and privacy management to the heart of your sales and marketing, we will work with you – at no extra charge – until you do.
During the early stages of the course we will help you to identify and agree the outcomes you need. In the unlikely event that you don’t realise them, we will work with you until you do.
And in the even more unlikely event that we can’t help you to achieve the agreed outcomes, we will refund every penny of your course fee. You can keep all the documentation we have worked on together and we part as friends.
Why online and offline versions?
You can choose between the online and offline versions of the course to match your particular situation.
The online option uses short sessions of up to one hour at a time for those who want to fit the training in with their regular working week.
These sessions are held in short “bursts” of one per day over three days, each burst is separated by a few weeks to allow for your own personal review, reflection and practice. We understand that you also have a job to do.
The “in person” live training events are held over three consecutive days.
Attendance at these in-person events is limited to a very small group of 12 delegates. The sessions are structured so students work together to practice the learning from each before they return to their workplace.
The live events are for those who prefer to learn in a face-to-face environment and are ready to spend the time to invest in a three-day intensive, immersive experience.
You can choose.
To let the effects of data protection and privacy happen to you or to orchestrate it. To watch from the sidelines or to be on the pitch and play the game yourself.
If you have struggled with data protection and privacy before (perhaps your eyes roll at the mention of “GDPR”?) or felt left behind by it, you’re not at alone, nor at fault. You simply didn’t have the right guidance, resources or support available to you.
If you have felt bewildered or overwhelmed by how fast-moving hotel technology uses personal data, that’s OK. Nobody expects you to know how it works, you just need to be on top of what it’s doing.
If you don’t understand the changes in how your guests and customers view their relationship with you and their personal data, then 2023 and beyond is going to happen TO you, not FOR you.
Look around you. Do you see your competitors making anything like the moves I’ve been sharing with you?
They have only done the basics they were told they needed for “compliance”. They are facing in the wrong direction. They are still waiting for something else to happen. They’ll say they’re waiting for clarity.
The truth is they’re either waiting for somebody else to do it for them or wishing it would all go away.
Well it’s not going to go away, but you could always make the moves yourself. Not for them of course. You’ll do it for you.
The online training courses start on Tuesday January 24th, 2023.
Standard price is £997 plus VAT. For the January intake we are offering a reduced price to the first 30 delegates of £497 plus vat, with the remaining 20 places being available at the full price of £997 plus vat.
The first live experience event will be held in London from 31st January to 2nd February 2023.
Live experience delegate fee is £1,997 plus VAT and includes all course materials, refreshments and lunch on each of the three days.