GDPR: Do you know how it is affecting your hotel social media channels?
By now, you are probably aware of the new data protection regulation that came into effect in the EU earlier this year. Hundreds of articles have been written on the topic, yet business owners and digital marketers alike are still confused about what this new law means for their businesses and the measures they need to put in place to comply with this regulation. In this article, we are going to explore what GDPR is, what benefits it brings to businesses and consumers and how will it impact your social media activities.
What is GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR) is a new data privacy regulation that aims to give individuals in the EU protection and control over their personal data. It is said to be “the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years” and affects how businesses can collect and use such information. The regulation came into effect on 25th May of this year and applies to all 28 Member States of the European Union. The UK Government has also published a draft Data Protection Bill, which is very similar to GDPR, to ensure the UK has adequate data protection legislation in force after the country leaves the EU early next year.
Although it is an EU law, it is applicable to any organization holding personal data of EU citizens and residents. Therefore, while your business might be located outside the EU – in the US, for example –, if you have customers in the EU, GDPR will be applicable to your organization whenever handling data relating to EU customers. Businesses that fail to comply with GDPR may be punished with fines of up to €20 million or 4% of their total worldwide annual turnover from the previous financial year – whichever is higher.
Its main focus is to ensure that consumers have basic rights, such as the right to erasure, the right to object and the right to restriction. With this new law, companies will have to detail the ways in which they collect personal data for marketing purposes, asking specific consent as they collect as well as offering customers a specific reason for having that information.
What constitutes personal data?
It is important to understand what personal data means under GDPR, as one of the key concepts of this new legislation. Personal data is anything that can be used to identify an individual, such as name, address, telephone number, bank account details, photographs, medical information, but also less obvious digital identifiers such as IP and MAC addresses, social media handles and cookies used for analytics, advertising and chat tools, etc.
How does GDPR benefit consumers?
When GDPR came into effect, one of its main goals was to facilitate trust and transparency and ensure that businesses are managing data in line with certain ethical standards. This new regulation offers many benefits to your customers:
- More privacy: Companies are now required to collect and process only the necessary personal information and implement measures to protect that information.
- More security: With stricter standards on data collection and processing, there will likely be fewer data breaches.
More control: Customers will be able to decide upfront whether they want to receive marketing emails or whether they want their online behavior to be tracked for analytics and advertising purposes.