Sabre seeks to drive up innovation with first B2B app store

Global Distribution System Sabre has announced plans to launch the first business to business app store which it hopes will pioneer technological innovation for leisure and corporate travel agents.

The store will open for developers – there are currently 100 globally certified by Sabre although this number is expected to rise once the store is operational – and in late November for agents.

Greg Webb, Sabre president of Sabre Travel Network, said the store will allow agents to not only improve their service levels but to drive up efficiencies within their organisations.

“We have been able to put together something in a B2B environment driven by ease of integration with the underlying Sabre platform. We provide the certification process to ensure all applications will work in the environment of the end user.”

Webb said an app downloaded from a consumer-facing app store that “kills the customer’s smartphone” would “ruin their day”, a similar problem with a B2B app could “ruin a firm’s year”.

So Sabre said its app store will provide the same level of security and certification that it currently does, but in a space that allows travel buyers, agencies and developers to meet in a global marketplace.

This is expected to drive up innovation as developers who would usually struggle to get their apps to such a large and diverse market look to use the store to showcase their work.

At launch the Red App Store will offer access to Sabre’s existing 155,000 Sabre Red Workspace users in 116 countries.

The app store is the latest development in the Sabre Red Workspace travel agency suite of products and comes hot on the heals of last week’s launch of new customer relationship management tool Sabre Profiles.

This autumn Sabre will hold a Developers’ Challenge competition to come up with the most innovative new Red Apps for the store. Sabre expects a range of apps to be made available through the new store from large systems software to small utility apps.

The store has been designed to include some of the familiar features of consumer app stores with filters for the most recent, featured apps and most highly rated by users.

Developers will also be able to track the download rate of their apps, view comments and reviews about their apps and other and see the status of apps that have not yet been approved by Sabre.

For agents the app store will appear as a tab in their usual workspace and they will be able to pre-set permissions for who can buy and use specific apps.

Webb said: “Every year, Sabre invests hundreds of millions of dollars and works closely with more than 130 authorised developers to research and develop new products that help our customers compete and win in a complex industry.

“Creating an inline B2B marketplace will spur a whole new level of innovation for the benefit of Sabre connected agencies globally.

“We want developers around the world to be inspired to create new apps to revolutionise the online travel experience.”

Demonstrating the app store to the media today, Sabre business development manager Pravin Muthukumar said one example of an app that could be developed was a restaurant booking app for corporate travellers.

Other examples were a telecoms app that identifies the caller and automatically pulls up their corporate and or individual profile or a social media monitoring app that can proactively respond to customers’ posts.

“We hope to bring a brand new opportunity for our developers and new way for agencies to shop for and buy apps,” he said.

“We are also bringing in tools to help developers build apps that will be both robust and flexible enough to support a variety of leading technologies that are out there.”

From October developers will be able access the Sabre Red App Developer Toolkit.

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