The implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation - or GDPR - in May resulted in Broadway losing 41% of online and call traffic, chief operating officer Jill Mitchell revealed at the 2018 Broadway Travel conference in Dubrovnik on Monday (October 15).
However, Mitchell said Broadway’s leaner database immediately allowed the company to drive conversions up 25% by using client data to more accurately target sales material.
“It [GDPR] hit us massively on client data,” said Mitchell. “We lost a significant proportion of our database. But we are clawing that back.”
Speaking to TTG, Mitchell said this boost in conversions had been broadly consistent since May, hovering around the 25% mark. And although online and call traffic is still down, Broadway expects this to recover to pre-GDPR levels by January next year.
“I don’t think people fully understand the full repercussions of GDPR,” said Mitchell. “We were fully compliant. We did everything we were advised to do. We’ve been working the database back up again. Post-GDPR, our database is smaller, but it is much more engaged.”
Managing director Adam Pardini said despite the initially daunting scope of GDPR, Broadway had responded to the challenges robustly.
Broadway’s new database is segmented by different parameters such as product and demographic, allowing the business to target communications more accurately.
“In fact, because of GDPR and the fact we’re not sending out quite as much as we used to, it’s not costing us so much,” said Pardini. “The net impact probably isn’t far away from parity now. Conversions, open rates - we’re seeing benefits.
“We’re now dealing with an engaged database, people who want to talk to you - what’s the point of sending things to people who aren’t interested?”
During an industry panel discussion touching on the impacts, merits and pitfalls of GDPR, Broadway Travel IT and operations director Steve Tyler said it was important not to consider GDPR an issue of the past.
Tyler said while the May 25 implementation of GDPR came and went “with a sigh of relief”, work had been ongoing since them to ensure the company was correctly addressing the regulations at all times, with significant consequences for those who don’t.
Dave Dadds, chief executive of cloud solutions and telecommunications expert Qudo, added after the laboured rollout of GDPR, it was important the EU kept the legislation up-to-date to ensure it remains fit-for-purpose.
“If they don’t move it along quickly enough, we could be at a big disadvantage,” he said. “We’re competing in world markets now. We have to ensure we are equally regulated.
“With GDPR, my biggest concern is they [the EU] are not moving quickly enough with it - and it’ll end up being a noose around our necks.”