WhatsApp starts sharing data with Facebook
By Nicki Graham, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager at Cendyn
To enable them to do this, WhatsApp will start sharing user account information, such as the user's phone number and the last time WhatsApp was used with Facebook. WhatsApp has very clearly stated however that no messages, photos or account information will be shared onto Facebook or any other Facebook apps for people to see. Furthermore, each message sent through WhatsApp will continue to be end-to-end encrypted – which means only the people messaging each other will be able to read those messages.
WhatsApp has made it possible for users to opt out of this update. This can be done when the new T&Cs have been pushed to the app or if users have already agreed to opt-in they can adjust it via their settings page (please note this last option is only available for 30 days following accepting the T&Cs).
So what does all of this mean for hoteliers?
This change means that soon, businesses (including hotels) will be able to message users via WhatsApp for transactions, service updates and marketing. For example, hoteliers will be able to:
- Notify a guest about a change to their check-in time before arrival
- Inform guests of any changes to hotel amenity changes (e.g. pool opening times) or
- Provide a means and invite guests to book a reservation direct
Each user will be able to manage what messages they receive however, so in a similar way to email, businesses will need to be responsible with what is communicated via WhatsApp to ensure users stay engaged.
If you are currently using WhatsApp to communicate with your guests, nothing will change. You still will be able to do so directly from your hotel WhatsApp account and you will still be able to share your WhatsApp mobile number with guests via emails (see my previous post outling this strategy).
There's a lot more to come from WhatsApp in the very near future so watch this space for more updates on their business strategy.
- The new policy states that they will start sharing data with Facebook to improve tracking capabilities, monitor and reduce spam and provide messaging access to businesses
- No messaging or account information from WhatsApp will be shared on Facebook or with any Facebook apps
- Messages sent via WhatsApp will continue to be end-to-end encrypted
- Users are able to opt-out of sharing their data with Facebook for a short period of time
- Hotels using WhatsApp currently to communicate with their guests can continue to do so
Cendyn is a cloud-based software and services provider that develops integrated technology platforms for driving sales and marketing performance in the travel and hospitality industry. The Cendyn Hospitality Cloud offers the most complete set of innovative software and services in the industry, covering hotel marketing, guest engagement, group sales, and event management. With offices in Boca Raton, Atlanta, Boston, San Diego, Toronto, Whistler, Munich, London and Singapore, Cendyn proudly serves more than 30,000 clients in 143 countries with enterprise spend levels in excess of $1 billion. For more information on Cendyn, visit www.cendyn.com.