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An Interview with Simon Welte of Fried & Partner on the Sabre Low Fare Study

  1. Which technology providers and markets were included in the study?

We collected fares from Sabre, Travelport (Galileo) and Amadeus. In total 24 source markets were involved: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates (UAE), USA and Venezuela

2.    Given the sources and markets involved, is the study comprehensive enough to be considered truly representative of the travel buyers’ experience?

This study includes 24 source markets and 100 origin and destinations for each market. There are eight combinations of advanced purchase / travel duration and for each combination up to 100 results per GDS which means that all together the data volume is around 5.5 million results. Having also measured diversity this study can be considered as being representative by the time when the data was collected.

3.    Please explain how you evaluated the low fare efficacy of the GDSs.

Basically, we analyzed the low fare efficiency using three types of measurements:

–       Average savings of Sabre to competitors in percent and in absolute terms

–       Win / tie / loss comparison of Sabre vs. competitor

–       Fare differences Sabre vs. competitor clustered into EUR 5 / 10 / 50 and 100

The results are calculated and shown on a regional level (Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia / Australia), on a market level (e.g. French Market) as well as domestically and internationally per source market (e.g. French domestic fares). Results on a domestic / international market level are not part of the study, but those figures are available and have been sent to Sabre.

 4.    How did you factor in bookability?

Bookability was checked for the two lowest fares. All invalid fares were removed from the result set.

 5.    How were ties handled?

In general a margin error of EUR 5 or in equivalent currency was assumed. That means for example if the Sabre fare was EUR 500 and the competitor fare was EUR 502, the results were handled as a tie.

 6.    How did you determine the average savings for each provider?

Only those results have been considered where all GDSs found a valid lowest fare. The average of all valid lowest fares was the compared on a market level. These results are shown in percent and in absolute terms. Regional and global results are then aggregated (weighted) market results.

7.    The study references the diversity of itineraries. How did you measure diversity?

–       Time of day distribution: The average time of day distribution of the first outbound segment is shown on market level. The departure times are clustered into seven time frames. The study includes a graph and table overview

–       Inbounds per outbound: The average number of inbounds per outbound on a market level has been calculated

–       Price / service buckets: There was a 10% price cutoff and a 30% time cutoff assumed; common cutoffs over all GDSs were calculated. Results are an average number on a market level, shown in quartiles and in a 9-field matrix.

 8.    Across what timeframe were these searches conducted? How and why was this timeframe selected?

The timeframe was April and May 2013. This selection was mainly based on the availability of the technical service provider who conducted the data. For each O&D there were 8 combinations of advance purchase and travel duration combinations considered. Each market was conducted as parallel as possible for all three GDS in order to guarantee the same availability of fares.

9.    Were seasonal pricing differences factored into the study? Why or why not?

This was not part of the study and therefore has not been considered. The focus of this study was the comparison of fares of all GDSs having the same data conducted at the same time.

 10. Please summarize the findings of the study.  

In average across all conducted markets Sabre finds the lowest fare 9% more often than Amadeus and 33% more often than Travelport. The average saving of the lowest Sabre fares is 2% against Amadeus and more than 10% against Travelport.

On a win / tie / loss comparison, Sabre against Amadeus show the following results:

–       Sabre wins against Amadeus in 25.3% of all lowest fares found

–       Amadeus wins against Sabre in 15.9% of all lowest fares found

–       Sabre and Amadeus have a tie in 58.8% of all lowest fares found

On a win / tie / loss comparison Sabre against Travelport show the following results:

–       Sabre wins against Travelport in 40.8% of all lowest fares found

–       Travelport wins against Sabre in 7.7% of all lowest fares found

–       Sabre and Travelport have a tie in 51.5% of all lowest fares found