We announced the release of the new Sabre Red Workspace during the Travel Technology Exchange conference last June in Miami. But the product has been in the works for years. In every design process, there are great ideas that emerge that can’t be implemented at the time, which are put into the vault for the next redesign – that’s how the development process stays fluid while moving forward.
Many innovations in technology were once seen as not feasible or not desirable, and many capabilities of the new Sabre Red Workspace are no different. For example, the popularity of smartphone, tablets, and wearable technology has changed how we all interact with technology. And new standards like Responsive Web Design, Progressive Web Apps, and JxBrowser have changed what is feasible.
The new Sabre Red Workspace’s core capabilities are powerful and enterprise-grade. The platform allows users to search through millions of potential itineraries in under 3 seconds no matter where you are in the world. But where the product really shines is in its Graphical User Interface (GUI). The GUI features a website-like design, familiar to the modern internet audience. Agents enjoy an intuitive, customizable workflow that also allows suppliers to sell the way would in their own channels.
Design first means prioritizing design
Ideally, a product redesign starts with understanding how people use the product you have now. Sometimes this means analyzing log data, sometimes this means directly observing and interacting with your users.
We sent researchers, product marketing personnel, and designers to visit with a wide mix of users on-site where they work. We then created a presentation of what the product might be like given what we learned and validated that vision with customers to gauge demand.
These site visits highlighted a rapidly changing agent workforce. Career-seasoned travel agents want to use the classical Sabre commands they’ve had expertise in for years. New agents have much little-to-no experience with command-line interfaces, and that workforce wants to train quickly with an intuitive, website-like feel.
A deft touch: Merging the new and the old
This isn’t just a new version of a familiar product. It’s a true product evolution that brings together the familiar with the current. One of the biggest differentiators of the new Sabre Red Workspace is that you can switch seamlessly between a manual command environment and a graphical environment, without losing functionality in either setting. This was one of the most important threads throughout the development of the new workspace, says principal for strategic accounts engagement Richard Caulder:
The new system allows agents to interact as they are used to, including using scripts and custom keys. And this new interface is just as fast as our existing classic view.
The product features a modular design to create technical, operational and usability flexibility. This modularity allows us to design solutions for each customer, rather than one-size-fits-all. Extensibility also opens the door for third-party developers. Through a new Sabre Red Workspace Developer Toolkit agencies and developers can personalize the new platform.
The travel industry is growing — there are around 23,911 commercial flights flying to 17,678 airports every single day! ✈️Share
Data first: More informed agents save time and sell more
The Decision Support Bar sits front and center in the new graphical interface. This translates historical travel data, from fares to bookings, into actionable insights. Data then contributes to the agent’s decision-making.
With Sabre historical travel data into an agent’s air search, the agent can see travel seasonality, fare trends, what other travelers paid for a route, and nearby alternative airports. Additionally, in-line flight info like baggage policies, flight times, and flight ratings from Routehappy are integrated into flight results to effortlessly advance the agent’s workflow.
Ancillaries are also dropped right into the agent workflow. The new workspace makes it as easy as three clicks to add an ancillary to any given itinerary. Adding ancillaries — and boosting revenue — is now blissfully straightforward, highlights Caulder:
Booking ancillaries can be very complex. As can branded fares. We make it as easy as a three clicks to add an ancillary to any given itinerary. Prior to this, the command-line interface was much more challenging to use when adding ancillaries.
Branded fares are now more inviting and informational. When an airline has branded fares, agents see a clean graphical view of each fare type. When conferring with customers, the agent can be informed when discussing options. The image-forward approach is also much more attractive for airlines to properly merchandise these important upsells.
The first leg of a once-in-a-lifetime journey
Today’s traveler has more options to book and plan travel than ever before. To thrive in today’s rapidly changing travel industry, agents need to elevate from travel agents to travel experts. We have designed a product to make this expertise nearly as effortless as it looks to customers. This product aims to enable travel consultants to think beyond transactional itineraries and create rich experiences that keep customers coming back before each trip.
Given his tenure as the “demo-in-chief” for the new Sabre Red Workspace, Caulder sums up the fundamental mission of the project. Enough said!
We focused relentlessly on reducing travel complexity and increasing revenue for agents. It’s really that simple.