Sabre has lifted the lid on its next generation travel agent workspace saying it will give leisure and corporate agency’s the ability to compete with the best consumer facing OTA technologies.
Sabre Travel Network gave Travolution a sneak preview of the new Sabre Red Workspace last week at a special EnvisionUK ‘technology and future of travel’ event during London Tech Week.
Developed over the last two years the new agent technology will be piloted later this year and will be rolled out to customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa throughout 2017.
The GDS believes the new modern interface, that provides enhanced data insights and predictive analytics in a more user-friendly graphical design, will help Sabre’s agent customers compete better.
It enables users to toggle easily between traditional ‘green screen’ mode that includes the enhanced features, but provides much greater and easy-to-use functionality when in the new graphical mode.
A new ‘Decision Support Bar’ provides accessible information about the product, including fare trends, demand data agents can determine if prices are likely to rise or fall, alternative dates and airport options, a profiling tool linked to loyalty programme data, and commission and mark-up information.
Eric Hallerberg, managing director for UK and Ireland, said: “This has been developed with both agents and suppliers and it allows suppliers to sell through the indirect channel like they do through the direct channel.
“We have seen a lot of disruption in the sector through technology, but also through consumer behaviour. Today it is really the traveller who is influencing how travel is bought. With all this choice what we need is a robust platform that brings travellers and buyers together.”
Asked how Sabre is able to balance the often competing requirements of customers, agents and airlines and suppliers, for instance when communicating information about how and when the ideal time is to book the best deal, Hallerberg said:
“We will always support the side of transparency. We are a marketplace and we want to provide as much information to allow buyers and suppliers to interact,” he said.
Hallerberg said the core GDS technology provides a reliable and quick foundation and on top of that third party developers are able to create new services and products that complement what Sabre offers.
He said the new workspace enables agents to personalise their offering to suit each client in a more efficient and graphical environment which means that for staff there is no need for extensive training to use the technology.
With Sabre in the UK third behind Travelport and Amadeus in the GDS sector and it’s penetration primarily among corporate travel retailers, Hallerberg believes the new workspace could help it gain ground in leisure.
“This certainly opens up opportunities in leisure,” he said. “Agents may not have an agency or travel background and this new workspace will shorten the time it takes to train and enhances the offering.”
All Sabre customers will be migrated on to the standard version of the new workspace free of charge but new premium modules could be developed in the future that may be paid-for options.
Sean Menke, president of Sabre Travel Network, said: “Data, analytics, personalisation and mobile have been trending in the marketplace for some time and offer exciting opportunities for buyers and suppliers to meet changing traveller needs.
“Travellers want more than an itinerary; they want to feel confident about their purchases and expect a trip built around choice. That’s why in addition to a superior user experience, our new Sabre Red Workspace provides travel consultants with data insights, relevant offers and price transparency.
“Data and analytics are critical assets to increase productivity and efficiency in the retail world, and our travel insight engine will help drive decision-making, revenue optimisation and true personalisation.”
• The combination of data-driven booking trend information with intuitive design and a consumer-grade user interface, smart product differentiation for air extras and Branded Fares.
• The new Sabre Red Workspace platform integrated with Sabre Dev Studio APIs, to provide Decision Support Bar providing market data and intelligence services for fare trend and range, travel seasonality and alternate airports.
• The new end-to-end solution also integrates revenue maximisation tools, including indicators that alert the travel consultants about opportunities to increase sales and commissions while offering differentiated options that cater to the traveller’s preferences.