No Cookies, No Problem: Leveraging Publicity in a Post-Cookie Era

Nick Papa
March 26, 2024

The impending cookie apocalypse has the hospitality industry standing at a significant crossroads. Yes, you heard it right: the cookie has crumbled. In January, Google announced that it "turned off cookies for 1% of Chrome users," a staggering 30 million users. It's ramping up to phasing cookies out for 100% of Chrome users by Q3 2024. 

This shake-up will change how hospitality brands connect with future guests, but it's not a doomsday prophecy for marketers. Instead, it's a golden opportunity to spotlight the undeniable power of publicity, especially when supercharged with media giants and tech-forward platforms. Let's dive into navigating the new normal with one of the earliest and time-tested marketing tricks.

The great cookie crumble explained

Before we dive in, what's the cookie crumble all about, anyway? This plot twist has been on the horizon for a while, and now it's finally here, reshaping the landscape of marketers everywhere. There are a few major contributing factors to consider.

  • Privacy, please! The digital world has been buzzing about privacy for years. Users got savvy and started demanding more control over their data. Our industry, in particular, discovered (and had to accept) that after visiting a hotel website, potential guests didn't want a barrage of retargeting ads pressuring them to book a stay. Fair enough.
  • Regulatory changes: Enter the regulators, armed with legislation like GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California, amping up the volume on the megaphone for privacy concerns. Ready or not, these laws pushed us into a new future where respecting user privacy was paramount.
  • Tech titans take a stand: The big tech players, like Apple and Google, decided to get ahead of the privacy party. Both giants implemented changes that essentially put third-party cookies on the back burner, restricting (without altogether eliminating) their ability to track users across the web. In the past few years, all industries have seen less effective and far more costly advertising as a result.

Target your potential guests without cookies

Without cookies to lean on, creating irresistible, share-worthy content will become the secret weapon of hospitality brands everywhere (read more about that in our free ebook). The practice is not new, but without the ability to precision-target your potential guests with advertising, marketing will become all about making them come to you with stories, tips, and experiences that light up their imaginations and make them think, "I need to stay there!"

But with the demise of cookies diminishing the ability of traditional advertising to amplify that content, how do you attract new guests in cost-effective ways?

Publicity is about getting your hotel or brand featured in the places your future guests already hang out and love, like AFAR and Travel+Leisure. And it still grabs the marketing megaphone after a century since the practice began.

  • Trust vibes only: When your brand pops up in a beloved publication, it's not just another ad – it's a badge of trust and coolness. You can't buy this kind of credibility – earned media is, well, earned, making your message resonate louder and clearer.
  • Building your brand universe: Publicity is your brand's backstory, personality, and vibe – all rolled into one. It's how you stand out in a sea of sameness and keep guests returning for more.
  • The point of inspiration: We all love a good story. Publicity turns your hotel into the main character of a story that your potential guests want to be a part of, igniting their wanderlust and pushing them closer to hitting that "book now" button.

Hurdles to overcome

Now, publicity has its limitations. First, there's the challenge of measurability. How do hotels quantify the impact of a feature story on bookings? The connection between exposure and action remains nebulous, a leap of faith rather than a traceable journey. This gap in attribution leaves hotel marketers guessing, crafting outreach strategies based on intuition rather than insight.

Moreover, traditional channels often cast a wide net, missing targeted engagement opportunities. In a world where travelers crave personalized content, generic appeals fall short. 

At Curacity, we've blended the art of brand building and publicity with the science of data and attribution. By partnering with 40 of the world's best media outlets, we illuminate how content consumed by millions of lifestyle-oriented subscribers catalyzes downstream bookings and revenue.

Securing visibility doesn't cut it anymore: as we move forward into the cookieless future, tech partners who can help peel back the layers of the marketing onion to offer granular insight into guest acquisition will become more critical than ever. No longer adrift in a sea of assumptions, hotel marketers can navigate with the compass of data, steering toward strategies that captivate and convert.

Targeted publicity at scale

Curacity recognizes that you win a traveler's heart in the details. Our platform's ability to tailor content to the desires and interests of engaged subscribers is like a digital concierge, crafting experiences that resonate on a personal level. Through our targeted approach, we work with our media brand partners to deliver content not only to travel enthusiasts but also to culinary, fashion, and sports outlet subscribers, guiding a broad lifestyle audience from dream to destination.

The future is here

In a world without cookies, Curacity offers the technology you need. We're changing the game for hospitality brands, making it a breeze to land placements in the newsletters of 40 of the world's best media outlets and turn that content into bookings. Ready to make publicity your brand's new best friend? Here's how to get started.

  • Mix it up: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your media outreach to target different niches and demographics, expanding your brand's universe. When you work with Curacity, you get access to top-tier travel publishers like AFAR and Travel+Leisure, as well as a variety of lifestyle publications spanning culinary, fashion, sports, and more.
  • Direct line to guest love: Use the buzz from your publicity efforts to fuel direct engagement channels like your website, email newsletter, and social media pages. Put "as seen in" logos on your home page, and share coverage on your marketing channels to expand reach even further. Utilize publicity as social proof to get your audience to book.
  • Leverage those insights: While traditional publicity doesn't offer a wealth of data, working with Curacity gets you access to a proprietary data dashboard where you can examine how ADR and LOS from content-catalyzed bookings compare to your overall bookings or how long it takes between content exposure and booking. 

The bottom line

The demise of third-party cookies isn't the end of hotel marketing as we know it. It's just the beginning of a more authentic, privacy-respecting era. It's about building genuine connections with your guests, understanding their needs, and delivering exciting content that makes them want to return for more. So, let's turn this cookie challenge into an opportunity to innovate, personalize, and succeed in the digital age. Millions of your potential guests are waiting for inspiration. How will you meet the moment?

Download our free ebook, Navigating the Cookieless Future, for actionable insights created specifically for hoteliers.

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