GDPR in Travel: The Opportunity.


With the regulation deadline fast approaching there is lots of discussion around what brands need to be doing next to cleanse their data and improve compliance. This has created a wave of panic within the travel industry and with the deadline just months away I thought this would be a good time to reflect on the opportunities it proposes:

  • More valuable data
  • Better data security
  • Enhance the customer experience
  • Build consumer trust
  • Beat the competitors
  • Achieve digital transformation

I’ve broken this down into 4 key areas I feel are the most important to brands. 

#1 Customer Data

In theory, if a business can successfully implement GDPR then their data will be more valuable to the brand because:

  • It will be freely given
  • It will be from customers with a genuine interest in your product/service
  • It will be more valuable to you and the customer, therefore creating a better business-to-consumer relationship

Collection of Data
How brands collect and store this data is a vital step and it’s important to consider the key touchpoints in a typical customer journey when the consumer will leave a digital footprint of some kind:



#2 Improved Security

Brands will essentially use a variety of different technologies and tools across their business which are either collecting, identifying or processing customer data. Under GDPR whilst you might not be in breach, as the Data Controller if you have used a Data Process that then has a breach they will try to pass liability back to the brand; as the controller brands should only be sharing data with sources they can guarantee are free from encumbrances.

Data Sharing
The more customers interact with a website the more data that business is collecting. Travel brands often share this data with other data processes such as email marketing platforms, booking engines, social media platforms, hotels, flight providers and so on for remarketing purposes. Therefore, when you think about where this data might be being shared the flow of data rapidly expands.


#3 Single Customer View

A CRM or Single Customer View tool is a straightforward way of stepping towards GDPR compliance. For many years the idea of a ‘single customer view’ has had huge marketing and user experience benefits but now there is the added benefit of understanding what data you hold, where you hold it and how it has developed over time.

Now, this is something that can be used to better understand your niche, giving you the opportunity to develop your holiday ‘product’ to evolve with your audience’s needs and at a more granular level; personalise it even further.

#4 Trust & Experience

GDPR requires brands to be more transparent about their intentions for data and therefore a new level of consent has to be attained before contact can be initiated. For brands this reinforces the idea of having more valuable data and therefore the opportunity to build better more valuable relationships.

Trusted Privacy by Design
Privacy notices are a vital element of GDPR meaning that brands need to explain who they are, what they do and what they want to do with customer data as well as the ability to be more selective when managing their preferences. It’s also essential that businesses provide information about who this data will be shared with and how to withdraw the data.

Consent in Practice
Consent is one of the six reasons as to why brands can process someone’s data. GDPR tells brands that when they are asking for consent it needs to be on one of the following terms:

  • Unbundled: consent requests must be separate from other terms and conditions. Consent should not be a precondition of signing-up to a service unless it is necessary to do so.
  • Active Opt-in: no pre-ticked boxes.
  • Granular: give granular options separately for different types of processing
  • Named: name your organisation and any third parties who will be relying on the consent given.

Whilst GDPR compliance is a complicated issue that needs to be supported from the top down, in some cases the attitude to compliancy is going to be harder to achieve than the technical aspect.

If brands do embrace this regulation successfully there is a huge opportunity to build open and honest relationships that create lifetime customer value and brand advocates.

If you would like help or guidance with implementing GDPR in your business, please feel free to contact me via and let's discuss how your travel brand can embrace the opportunity that is GDPR!

This blog was originally posted on the Travel Technology Europe Exhibition website on 8th February 2018.

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.


Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

Paul Stephen
Paul Stephen
Co-Founder & Joint CEO
With over 25 years in marketing, Paul is one of the UK's leading experts on digital marketing. He oversees the agency and often lectures and consults within the industry on digital and marketing related subjects and has a particular interest and skills in the travel and tourism sectors.

Paul operates nationally and internationally, helping brands to think outside the traditional horizontal and vertical channels and transform their business with creative multi-channel marketing and digital re-invention.
Paul Stephen

Paul Stephen

09 Feb 2018 - 8 minute read
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