GDS and technology provider Sabre Holdings is expecting the travel market in 2012 to confound the most dire expectations, although remains cautious on the UK outlook.
Recently installed EMEA senior vice president of Sabre Travel Harald Eisenaecher said he thought there were signs of returning business confidence.
He conceded some European markets would remain challenging but expected some of its biggest markets like France, Germany and Italy to show growth.
“If you look at the stock markets they have been quite bullish for the last couple of weeks and they are usually built on confidence; not on actual results but on what people think might happen.
“The general indication is there seems to be lots of confidence and the decisions that people make about travel are generally following the same pattern.
“If there is no confidence there will tend to be lots of cost-cutting programmes and this impacts on travel. It’s maybe going to be a better year than we thought a couple of months ago.”
Eisenaecher said he expected both corporate and leisure travel to confound expectations.
He admitted the UK was likely to suffer from consumer belt-tightening, hitting leisure travel, along with markets suffering more serious economic problems like Greece.
He claimed Sabre has had a good start to the year in January, following a strong 2011.
“Last year we saw a very strong performance and we out-performed the market by 6% to 7%. We gained market share in EMEA and that basically continued into January.
“We don’t see any change from November, December through to January in that dynamic. I personally think the actual reality in the marketplace is better than the opinion.”
Sabre is poised to announce a raft of new products for leisure and corporate agents at this week’s Travel Technology Europe and Business Travel Show in Earl’s Court, London.
A new web booking engine for medium sized businesses has been developed in partnership with Lancashire-based Billian IT Solutions.
The GDS has also unveiled the Eco-Certified Hotel Programme claiming it offers agents the chance to choose certified green hotels on a GDS for the first time.
In addition the firm has tied up a strategic partnership with Regus, the world’s largest supplier of high definition public video conferencing rooms, so TMCs can offer alternative arrangements for clients’ meetings.