Why Identity Resolution is the New Tool in Travel Marketing

Sue cannot believe her luck. She just found a last-minute flight to Costa Rica and it’s time to book her hotel. There’s only three days before departure.

Sue starts browsing hotels and narrows her search down to two places, The Surfside Lodge and The White Palms. She hasn’t browsed Costa Rican hotels in years, and doesn’t recall making a profile on either site. But she gets interrupted and cannot finish her transactions. At this moment in time, despite spending time on each website and spending a significant amount per night, because Sue is not logged in, she is an unknown visitor to both hotel brands.

Later that evening, Sue received an email from The Surfside Lodge offering a 15% discount on her hotel booking. This personalized outreach not only caught her attention but prompted her to swiftly confirm her reservation and pay for her room.

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How did The Surfside Lodge identify and successfully close the transaction with Sue, while The White Palms, despite robust marketing tools, failed to recognize her as a potential customer?

It’s because The White Palms does not use identity resolution as part of its growth strategy. But at The Surfside Lodge, Sue became a known potential guest. In addition to sophisticated performance marketing strategies and a powerful ESP, The Surfside Lodge works with a network identity partner.

What can identity resolution do for me?

Up to 95% of a brand’s digital traffic can be anonymous. Identity resolution transforms anonymous online traffic into known, actionable data. Identity resolution can be considered the rocket fuel that propels acquisition efforts. Identity resolution optimizes your omnichannel marketing strategies and leads to more effective personalized outreach.

I already have a marketing strategy. Why do I need an Identity Network?

Identity resolution is the missing puzzle piece that bridges the gap between anonymous browsing and targeted engagement.

At Wunderkind, we define identity resolution as the process of tying an online visitor to an email address and phone number. Suppose The Surfside Lodge uses Wunderkind alongside their well-known ESP. With the power of Wunderkind’s Identity Network, The Surfside Lodge can identify Sue. Sue is among the one billion profiles in the Wunderkind identity network.

And it turns out they know a lot about Sue.

In addition to being a frequent traveler, Sue subscribes to an online newspaper and buys pricey items from a global shoe brand. Because the newspaper and the shoe brand are contributors to the same identity network partner that The Surfside Lodge works with, Wunderkind recognizes that it’s Sue’s device searching for hotels in Costa Rica – and that it’s one of several devices associated with Sue’s email address. Sue is now a known individual.

Download Demystifying the Value of Identity in Performance Marketing

Now Wunderkind can see if Sue ever opted in to receive communications from The Surfside Lodge. It turns out she had, and she’s actually still subscribed.

If a travel and hospitality brand cannot identify visitors down to an email or phone number, that traffic remains anonymous. It becomes part of the 95%. If Sue opens emails at work on a laptop or on her phone during the day, but shops on an iPad or personal computer from bed, that ESP may not recognize those devices as Sue.

This is traffic your ESP cannot reach via owned channels like email and text. To get back on Sue’s radar, The White Palms may need to rely on paid advertising and third-party channels, which dramatically increase acquisition costs.

Identity resolution helps deliver a better customer experience

In addition to identifying Sue’s device, Wunderkind optimized the experience for Sue, and saved The Surfside Lodge from offering needless incentives like complimentary breakfast or a discount on spa services.

The profile data on Sue suggests that she shops for upscale products and her average basket size (on other sites) is substantial. She is a high-value prospect who tends not to respond to pop-up promotional offers when she’s browsing online.

Once a device is recognized, an identity partner network like Wunderkind uses machine learning and AI to make real-time decisions on when to send a booking abandonment email, at what time, and on what device. Sue’s shopping history and cart sizes suggest that deep discounts don’t necessarily motivate her to make a purchase.

It’s these small yet meaningful data points that enhance the consumer experience and help close business.

Identity resolution transforms marketing into performance marketing

Incorporating an identity resolution solution is only one part of a performance marketing strategy, but a vitally important one.

When a device is identified as an individual, marketers can craft better experiences based on historical data that can be tracked at the device level. The looming deprecation of third-party cookies means that all marketers must invest in alternate data acquisition strategies. Identity partner networks are becoming a bigger part of the solution.

Download The Power of Performance Marketing in Travel & Hospitality in 2024

When identity resolution is used as part of performance marketing strategy, marketers can supercharge their retargeting campaigns on their owned channels like email and text at a lower cost and with better results.

Staying competitive and personal

The tourism industry is predicted to see as much as a 35% boost in global revenue in 2024. To maintain market share, travel marketers must know who’s visiting their websites. Sue wasn’t more partial to staying at The White Palms. But The Surfside Lodge had smarter technology that got to her first.

By partnering with a performance marketing partner like Wunderkind, brands gain access to a vast network of consumer profiles, allowing them to identify, understand, and engage with potential customers more effectively.

For industries like travel and hospitality, where competition is fierce and customer expectations are high, adopting a first-party data strategy rooted in identity resolution is no longer optional—it’s a strategic imperative. “After nearly a decade, traditional retargeting tactics are changing rapidly and identity solutions are becoming a must-have element to connecting and building long term relationships.” said Tim Glomb, VP of Digital, Content, and AI at Wunderkind.

Is it time for your team to invest in a better performance marketing solution? Wunderkind may be able to help.

Want more resources for travel & hospitality marketers? Visit our travel hub. 


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Anjali Augustine

Anjali Augustine is a freelance digital marketing consultant and content writer with over 15 years of experience writing blog posts, web copy, and marketing emails for media, SaaS, and B2B brands.