Personalisation has been the buzzword in travel for a while now. As consumers, we are expecting a superior and more tailored service from our airlines and hotels. And it is technology that will help us get that new experience we crave, by connecting us with our travel companies throughout our entire journeys.
This is what delegates learned about when they visited Sabre at this year’s Travel Technology Europe exhibition in London.
It’s not just consumers that will benefit from a personalised travel experience; in 2014, sales of ancillaries (that’s anything other than plane fares) were worth $49bn to airlines. That figure will continue to rise as airlines adopt technology that can bring them closer to their passengers at key points in their journeys, offering them contextually relevant products and services. In fact, just days before TTE, Sabre announced that Virgin America had become the first airline to sign up to using its new data-driven personalisation tools – a move that represents the significance of this income stream to the industry.
Sabre’s Innovate theatre was a hive of activity when Head of Innovation, Joakim Everstin, took to stage with other key travel industry veterans to discuss what technology the future traveller will be using. The Travel Technology Roadmap session, led by travel expert Charlotte Lamp-Davies, drew huge crowds eager to hear about how trending topics such as personalisation, data capturing and mobile are changing the travel landscape as we know it.
But it’s not just the big companies that are shaking up the future of travel; innovations in travel technology are coming as much from start-ups. Sabre’s API workshop, led by the company’s in-house innovation gurus Joakim Everstin and Irina Matz, aimed to show developers how they could Sabre’s API tools themselves to reinvent the travel experience and build apps that disrupt the world. The duo drew in large crowds of technology enthusiasts and developers alike, showcasing some of the most innovative uses of the APIs to date, such as an app that searches for flights based on a travellers preferred holiday type, and another that matches introverts and extroverts with suitably quiet or busy destinations.
Joakim Everstin also demonstrated one of Sabre’s most cutting-edge experiments – a prototype location-mapping ‘ancillaries app’. Designed to be downloaded by consumers, the app would be a platform for airlines and hotels to send personalised offers and service notifications to travellers depending on their exact locations.