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Introducing the Travel Expert Index: A panel of industry experts sounding off on today’s travel trends

There’s no shortage of opinions in travel. Yet, despite the free-flow of ideas that the internet brings, it’s not always straightforward to get to the core of issues important to industry executives and experts.

Sabre sits at the heart of the industry, facilitating operations and transactions across nearly every travel vertical. This viewpoint offers us the chance to curate and collect insights from industry leaders across all parts of the industry.

We take our commitment to our customers seriously and learn so much during regular conversations with both clients and colleagues. In order to probe deeper into some of these issues that come up regularly, we’re excited to announce the Travel Experts Index.

The TEI is a curated collective of industry experts that have agreed to share their opinions on 2-3 questions each month. It’s a quick hit survey that prioritizes a real-time view on the state of the industry. While the panel is currently invite-only, we welcome any comments or questions. To get the latest from Sabre Insights, please join our regular e-mail update here.

Now on to the panel! Among others, members include Roger Cohen, Ginger Hardage, Steve Praven, Paul Ruden, Rob Perlman, Spencer Dickerson, Rudy Maxa, Michael Blunt, Bob Crandall, Bill Hanbury, Tim Doke, Mark Frary, Justin Kintz, Vivian Deuschl and Tom Botts.

This month’s theme: personalization

Personalization has been a moving target in travel over the past few years. Without a doubt, the topic has been popular here on Insights: Sean Menke on data-driven insights for travel agents; airlines and perfect customer memory; exploring personalization through the lens of data privacy; and even regional research on differences in personalization preferences.

The evolution of Big Data to become more rapid and relevant has finally opened the gate towards a truer, more holistic personalization. Rather than simply capture all kinds of unusable data, travel brands are now capable of deploying predictive analytics to ensure that this data is leveraged in a more likable-to-consumers way.

After all, recent Sabre research found that a near-majority of 94% of travelers want to pick-and-choose options customized to them. The traveler wants to have choice, and data can help travel brands deliver targeted options that don’t overwhelm the traveler with irrelevant choices.

Recent Sabre research: 94% of travelers want to pick-and-choose options customized to them

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Given that travelers are eager to have personalization done right, we asked the Travel Experts Index about other industries that are doing it well. As students of global business, there’s plenty to learn from how other companies manage to deliver personalization that drives bottom-line results. We asked two questions:

  1. As the travel industry personalizes, what other industry should we look to for inspiration?
  2. Which company do you feel currently excels in personalization?

We compiled the answers into the infographic below. Technology companies clearly came out on top, with both Amazon and Apple being looked to the most for expert personalization. Beyond tech companies, banking and telecommunications were seen as keen personalizers. Retail landed in the “Other” category, where brands like Bonobos popped up into the narrative. While this is all food for thought, one key takeaway is to look to all kinds of companies for inspiration and best practices. When a healthcare company like Blue Cross Blue Shield comes up in the discussion, it’s worth looking at how personalization pans out in highly-regulated industries.

The Travel Expert Index is monthly, towards the middle of each month. 

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