Nearly 30 speakers took the stage at last month’s Skift Global Forum to discuss the leading trends and innovations top of mind for the people defining the future of the global travel industry.

Today, travel companies need to understand the stories behind the insights they’re collecting now more than ever. That can prove challenging for many travel providers, as data –– which is often more product-oriented than customer-oriented –– is gathered across disparate legacy systems.

Mastercard processes 65 billion transactions across the globe annually and is connected to tens of millions of merchants and billions of cardholders. While taking care to protect the privacy of individuals, Mastercard derives aggregated insights from patterns and trends across anonymized transaction data. As a result, “We have a very robust understanding of the travel market, the travel customer, and their journeys,” Margaret Shine, Mastercard’s senior vice president, travel, highlighted at Skift Global Forum 2018.

Mastercard helps travel suppliers gain richer and more informed insights in order to more efficiently acquire customers and grow existing relationships. Shine provided two examples — one of an airline and one of a hotel — to bring Mastercard’s information solutions to life.

Airlines’ data collection is often “fragmented and incomplete” because carriers gather different data sets across various departments, said Shine. To solve for this, Mastercard worked with a top global carrier’s network planning, revenue management, loyalty program, digital marketing, and innovation teams to help the company understand customer spend patterns to plan new routes. Once these patterns were identified, the airline was able to find suitable partnerships, identify ancillary revenue sources, and find efficiencies.

A large hotel chain also brought Mastercard in to create a customer-focused, yet privacy compliant strategy. The hotelier increased its capability to make data-driven decisions based on its real-time information, Shine said. These insights also helped the hotelier personalize its marketing messages and allowed the hotel to use data insights more efficiently in sales, loyalty, and several other departments.

“Through more effective use of analytics, an airline, hotel chain, or otherwise, can change its go-to-market approach to attract the right type of customer in a cost-effective way, to drive the right type of yields and grow brand loyalty,” said Shine.