In October 2019, an important privacy law changed as an update to Europe's GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). This change also affects every hotel website in Europe. The biggest change is that website visitors now have to actively give consent by ticking boxes on cookie banners–those boxes can not be pre-ticked anymore.
What is the problem?
The problem is bigger than you might think. Research shows that on average only around 10% of visitors give active consent if you ask them to tick all 3 of the most common cookie boxes (Preferences, Statistics and Marketing). In fact, we recently saw traffic drops in the Google Analytics of our customers of 90% and more (see anonymised customer below). The drop below is based on implementing the cookie statement banner that strictly adheres to how the new cookie privacy law is asking you to do it (active consent, not pre-ticked).
Most likely you are currently using one of the 3 most common ways of asking for consent in a cookie statement, which is now legally not valid anymore—so you need to act. Hilton has already changed theirs in the correct way but they will probably see a big drop in measured traffic since many visitors are unlikely to actively click ‘yes’ to be tracked for advertising purposes.
Another legally compliant example is how Lufthansa does it. They do it smarter than Hilton but they will still experience a drop in traffic in Google Analytics since a significant share of traffic will not hit the yellow button.
Instead of only 10% of your visitors giving active consent, it is possible to reach 95%
Of course, you don't want to lose 90% of your traffic in Google Analytics stats or other tools you are using like Hotelchamp or Hotjar. For that reason, Hotelchamp partnered with lawyers specialized in privacy laws and with a GDPR support agency (CookieInfo, using Cookiebot technology). Instead of getting active consent from 5%-10% of your traffic, it is possible to get around 95% active consent. So don't change your cookie statement too fast, because it can have a huge impact on your stats.
So what exactly changed in the cookie law?
In October 2019, there was a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union with key aspects regarding the cookie consent obligation (regarding GDPR laws in Europe), like:
- Consent must be active, rather than passive (most cookie banners nowadays are not legally valid anymore for this reason)
- Pre-ticked boxes are not valid
- Consent must be unambiguous
- Consent must be specific
How does the solution work to keep 95% of your visitors tracked and still be compliant with the new law?
The solution is simple but effective:
- By default, the tick boxes are not ticked (as required)
- By default, no cookies are active, they are all blocked waiting for active consent from the visitor (as required)
- It links to an overview with all cookies (as required)
- All cookie types are explained and the visitor can manage cookies separately (as required)
We have a legal statement from specialised lawyers which we can share with you if you contact us via live chat or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So this example meets the criteria to be GDPR compliant. But why does the cookie statement above work so much better than the other cookie statements to get active consent?
First, you have to separate the tick boxes from the question and use the right wording. Visitors have to click 'manage cookies' to get to the tick boxes—in general, they’re not interested in manual cookie management, so it will be easier to click ‘accept’. By clicking ‘accept’ all boxes will be ticked, so by default, they are not ticked and none of the cookies are active.
From looking at the data, it turns out that on average 95% of visitors straight away click ‘accept’ and allow all cookies. This is the highest performing cookie banner we have seen.
We are happy to support you in getting this optimized cookie banner in place. Just send us a message or contact us via live chat.
Editors note: This post was originally published in 2019 and has been refreshed and updated for accuracy and new best practices.