Data protection: your marketing gift that keeps on giving

If you are implementing data protection regulations correctly for your tours and attractions, your email marketing should be driving your business to new heights. But if you aren’t doing data protection properly (or at all) then you risk losing customers and severely damaging your brand reputation – not to mention incurring an eye-watering fine.

Data protection benefits your customers and email subscribers by giving them greater control over the use of their personal data. It also benefits you: it has transformed email marketing into a powerful tool for growth, reaping rich rewards for tour, attraction and event operators of all shapes and sizes. Find out below how to tap your business into this marketing windfall.

Discover also how Ventrata’s ticketing platform offers you and your customers the greatest possible data protection – removing a major pain point for you and giving your customers greater peace of mind and the confidence to book your tour or attraction.

Boost your business right now: it’s time to learn to stop worrying and love data protection.

Ventrata gives you peace of mind 

A major data protection pain point for tour, attraction or event operators is that online ticket sales often involve multiple points of sale. By spreading customers’ private data across myriad sources, increases the danger of breach – especially if the tech being used is old. With one stroke, Ventrata’s one-source ticketing solution eliminates this issue for you.

At Ventrata we take data protection very seriously. If you are using our ticketing platform, then you are using a single technology stack. Consolidating customer data in just one source – unlike other platforms – significantly reduces the danger of customers’ data leaking.

An additional feature – which many of our customers greatly appreciate – is the option for a consent box to be built into your booking system as standard. All of Ventrata’s websites are fully encrypted, as are all of our servers, to safeguard the security of your, and your customers’, information. 

Finally, we store all data in compliance with your specific jurisdiction’s regulations – and ensure that we remain compliant in all the jurisdictions in which we currently operate. 

So, by using our ticketing platform, you can relax knowing that your customers’ data is streamlined and safe, leaving you free to focus your resources on providing the best experiences for them.

Data protection

Data protection legislation has unlocked the potential of online selling. Once upon a time, customers feared online booking systems and were reluctant to provide their personal data. They had every right to be. Companies cashed in selling on private data to marketing companies. The result was an unholy trinity of swamped email inboxes, floods of unsolicited mail and nuisance calls. Worse still: data was increasingly being stolen and used fraudulently. This changed with the advent of data protection regulation.

Now, if you collect and use personal data it is your duty to ensure that information is:

  • used fairly, lawfully and transparently.
  • kept for no longer than is necessary.
  • used for specified, explicit purposes.
  • accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.
  • used in a way that is adequate, relevant and limited to only what is necessary.
  • handled in a way that ensures appropriate security, including protection against unlawful or unauthorised processing, access, loss, destruction or damage.

(There is stronger legal protection for more sensitive information (race, ethnic background, political opinions and religious beliefs) and separate safeguards for data relating to criminal convictions and offences.)

Data Protection

The carrot: email marketing will now drive your business

For many of our customers, data protection has transformed the business-boosting power of email marketing. Smaller companies, who previously were reluctant to use email as a marketing tool, are now reaping increasing revenue and market share. If done properly, your email marketing will achieve far beyond what you can hope to accomplish with ads, media buys, or other digital methods. Some companies are even reporting revenue increases as high as 760% from improved email marketing campaigns.

Reported benefits include:

  • a stronger relationship between tour and attraction operators and their customers.
  • better quality contact lists, so emails are going to contacts that genuinely want them.
  • higher click, open and conversion rates.

Cull your contact lists: size really doesn’t matter

To be compliant, companies were initially forced to review and cull their contact lists. They made a shocking discovery: by removing non or negative responders, they could cull contacts who were pulling click rates down and had no intention of ever booking with them. Unsurprisingly, click rates rose sharply and email deliverability improved. Their lists are now populated with contacts who are more likely to engage with them. 70% of marketers now say that increasing email list quality – not quantity – is their top objective.

Data protection
Data protection for the customer information

Regulation has driven greater engagement.

Email marketing will make your business thrive but only if you are running engaging, personalised email campaigns about activities they will want to book. As holidaymakers and tourists are a large target market for you, their time (and budget) considerations are often restricted.  Putting more pressure on your emails to drop into the right email inboxes at exactly the right moment with exactly the right content.

Segmentation can help

Segmentation leads to higher performing emails: click-through rates are on average 100.95% higher in segmented email campaigns. It also leads to stronger conversion rates with potential customers becoming actual customers and indeed recurring customers.

Data protection requires companies to be transparent with subscribers, getting their consent as to how you will communicate with them. This gives you the opportunity to segment your contacts lists, starting with when, where and how they signed up. 

GDPR uses “choice” as a fundamental part of the definition of consent. Following a contact’s initial sign up to your list, you can offer them a preferences centre: a stand-alone webpage where subscribers update their profile information and indicate their interests and preferences. Using a preferences centre achieves 39% better open rates, 28% lower unsubscribe rates, 24% better deliverability, 21% more transactions, and 15% better customer retention. Bottom line? More bang for your buck.

Follow up with irresistible email content.

Rich, quality content that caters precisely to your contacts’ interests will lead to the most profitable engagement. Use contacts’ data to personalise the content and delivery time (using their purchasing or click through history) to make it as targeted as possible. On average you will achieve 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than if you were using a generic email campaign. 

The stick: failure to comply could cost you millions 

The post-data protection regulation landscape is global: 66% of countries have legislation in place. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (affectionately known as “GDPR”) is the toughest of the lot, imposing obligations onto any organisation collecting data from EU inhabitants. Companies in breach of GDPR will be hit with headline-making fines and a PR/lower consumer confidence headache.

Recent research showed that in 2020 fines imposed by EU regulators rose by 40% to a total of €158.5m ($191.5m) with 19% more reported breaches than in 2019. Firms fined include British Airways (€22m/$26m), Marriott (€20.4m/£23.8m), Google (€50m/$56.6m), Italian telecoms operator TIM (€27.8m/$31.5m) and H&M (€35m/$41m). In 2020 the UK’s data protection authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) received 2,594 data breach notifications in just three months.

At Ventrata, we are committed to being compliant with data privacy laws in the regions in which we operate, including GDPR, CCPA and PIPEDA. 

The data protection commandments

When it comes to data protection breaches, ignorance is not a defence. So, take a quick moment to remind yourself of a few key do’s and don’ts…

Thou shalt:

  • Employ double opt-in to record consent from subscribers prior to sending emails
  • Inform subscribers about how their data will be used when you collect
  • Only use subscribers’ details for the purpose they agreed to when they signed up
  • Obtain distinct consent for every kind of email engagement
  • Be transparent and allow subscribers access to their information
  • Be careful if processing sensitive data (eg gender, race, religion)
  • Store personal data in an encrypted format for maximum security
  • Communicate changes in your privacy notices to subscribers
  • Transfer a subscriber’s data from your systems when they request it

Thou shalt NOT:

  • Send promotional emails to recipients without knowing their interests
  • Collect subscribers’ personal data without informing them about your purpose
  • Distribute any subscriber’s personal data or use it inappropriately 
  • Use default consent options (pre-ticked boxes or fields that are automatically filled)
  • Permit unauthorised access to the data
  • Send out emails without an option to unsubscribe
  • Assume subscribers know about your privacy updates
  • Retain data when effecting a transfer request without that subscriber’s knowledge

And finally

If you aren’t already doing so, embrace data protection!

It is an opportunity to differentiate your business from competitors and strengthen your relationship with your customers and contacts who are prospective customers. Integrate data protection into how you do business – every new tour, event or attraction – right from the start and incorporate it into your creative processes.

Don’t rest on your laurels: keep upping your data protection efforts and keep abreast of developments it evolves. New regulations are inevitable as consumers develop new expectations above and beyond the current ones. Also: make sure your partners are compliant as well! Don’t be tarnished by association…

It isn’t unthinkable that data breaches may occur so have a clear and relevant data breach communication and action plan ready to go. A word of warning: don’t ignore a single complaint or request from individuals- anyone can formally complain that you are failing to protect their personal data. If it is found that you aren’t compliant, you risk a fine.

Finally, whatever your strategy, always work with your privacy and legal team to make sure your privacy and other notices provide subscribers with accurate information.

With data protection, you truly reap what you sow…

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