At ITB Berlin last week, Sabre unveiled Sabre Vacations, a next-generation leisure travel solution. Developed with Peakwork, a technology leader in the leisure marketplace, the product will first be released in Germany, with Austria and Switzerland soon to follow. The roll-out to new and existing Sabre travel agency customers is expected to commence in July.
With research indicating that more than a third of trips five days or more is being booked through tour operators, package travel remains an important business in Germany. According to a forecast by Statista, the segment is expected to generate total revenues of close to 40 billion euros in 2023. Sabre is investing in this growing segment with a solution that seeks to deliver a higher degree of personalization and a consumer-grade shopping experience rivaling the best digital brands.
Sabre Vacations is a state-of-the-art comparison tool that makes it easy and simple for leisure travel agents to shop, compare, book and service ready-made trips. It will initially include content such as packaged tours, hotels, cruises, rental cars, and travel insurance. Sabre Vacations is expected to replace Sabre’s current leisure-focused tool, Shop Holidays, by the fourth quarter of 2023.
The core elements of the shopping process are hotel “sets” that function like virtual catalogues – they allow travel agents to define groups of specific hotels designed to meet the expectations of individual target groups, for instance honeymooners, luxury spa travelers or families with small children. Drawing on the travel agents’ know-how and product expertise, the sets can be shared between users across an agency or consortia. To granularly address their customers’ wishes, travel agents can search and filter hotels by thousands of attributes provided by the tour operators, from water slides to Michelin-starred restaurants. Several hotels can be compared in a single view through a modern, user-friendly interface that enables customer-centric consultations.
Check-out is done through a simple “click and book” process where all products are added into the shopping cart and can be booked with a single click. The solution is also designed to allow for seamless third-party integrations, for instance to mid- and back-office systems or trip proposal providers.
“We are very excited to unveil Sabre Vacations,” said Tom Fecke, Regional Director, Central & Eastern Europe. “Leisure travel is a key component of Sabre’s strategy to create a new marketplace for personalized travel as well as an important growth opportunity, especially here in the DACH region. The initial feedback from our travel agency customers and tour operator partners during the usability testing phase has been very positive and we are sensing a strong demand for this new technology approach in the industry.”
Sabre Vacations will also make it easier for travel suppliers to distribute and sell their products. Tour operators will be able to provide targeted, group-specific offers and use flexible tools like dynamic packaging to provide additional growth opportunities. The product also allows them to deliver their full content and products features which they can deliver in their preferred data format.
“The last few months have been both challenging and rewarding,” said Manuel Saballus, Chief of Staff & VP Business Development & Strategy, Peakwork. “We are convinced that Sabre Vacations will have a significant impact across the industry. The solution is designed to deliver benefits to both travel agents and supplier as well as a smoother, more personalized experience to leisure travelers.”
Sabre is also working to maintain standards and consistency in content but for air as New Distribution Capability is further adopted and in accommodation.
“As a GDS Sabre can say trust us, we have been doing this for a long time and we know how to handle this and we know the challenges that you face. Whether the content comes in the form of Edifact, NDC or XML, it does not matter, we need to bring that together and normalize it and make it available in Sabre tools.”
Sabre now has seven carriers live on NDC with Finnair the latest announced this week after agreeing a new log-term distribution deal.