Travel companies should not ask themselves what they can do legally with customers’ data - but what they should do morally.
Oliver Rees, co-founder of technology specialist Hook, told ITT delegates to think beyond simply the legislation around data protection to consider what they believe to be the right ethical approach.
"Some companies are gobbling up as much data as they possibly can, while Apple has said, ’that’s wrong, that’s not the kind of company we want to be’," Rees reported. "Customers are becoming more and more suspicious."
Rees highlighted research by the Wall Street Journal that found consumers shared 53 pieces of data through the process of ordering a pizza, from name and postal address to type of device, IP address, hardware settings and an exact transcript of conversations using voice recognition.
"That’s really uncomfortable for consumers," he insisted.
He also warned delegates against rushing to adopt the latest technology within their business without considering its relevance and weighing up pros against cons.
"There is a huge fear around wanting to be seen to be progressive, but don’t feel pressure to go online and be digital in everything," he suggested. "Try new technologies then really think about it, and what you believe about it."
How companies communicate how and why they are collecting data is also key, he added, including face-to-face interactions such as during hotel check-in.
"Ensure the people who are representing you to customers are able to communicate your beliefs."