American Express Business Travel to be launch partner for social networking product
SOUTHLAKE, TX – February 20, 2008 – Sabre Travel Network today announced plans to launch the first Enterprise 2.0 Community Platform developed specifically with travelers in mind, called cubeless™.
The cubeless platform is designed specifically for facilitating the sharing of knowledge and expertise throughout a corporation’s most valuable knowledge base: its employees. The community features of cubeless join together the knowledge base of employees from local to global and makes it easy for them to share advice and recommendations about travel and other topics of shared interest.
American Express Business Travel and Sabre are working to partner on the initial launch of cubeless, which is scheduled for mid-2008. The focus will be on corporate travelers, offering cubeless as a new module from Sabre’s GetThere – the world’s leading corporate booking solution and a long-time partner of American Express Business Travel. Sabre intends to continue to develop and offer community products to other segments of the travel marketplace throughout 2008 and beyond.
“cubeless allows you to connect and benefit from the collective experience and expertise of your fellow travelers or colleagues,” said Tom Klein, executive vice president for Sabre Holdings and group president of the Sabre Travel Network and Sabre Airline Solutions businesses. “For those folks that the road is as much their office as where their desk is, getting information they know they can trust is just invaluable. cubeless facilitates this collaboration so the road warrior business traveler can quickly, easily, and even automatically, get advice from people within their company that do what they do, have the same travel policies, and have been in the same locations providing their best resource for getting input about their trip. It can be anything from finding out about services to help support their business trip in a location others have been to, to what nearby restaurants are opened all night for a quick bite to verifying that a hotel they want to stay in has dependable, fast wireless internet access and a gym that is open early in the morning.”
Charles Petruccelli, president, Global Travel Services at American Express, said, “We believe strongly in the value of social networking in the business travel space and welcome the opportunity to be a part of the first platform to be delivered to the marketplace by working with Sabre on the launch of cubeless. We see cubeless as a very good product with many attractive features. We believe it will be an important component of a broader offering on social networking capabilities that will enhance our ability to deliver knowledge, better savings, service and control to our customers, while building loyalty and engagement with our travelers.”
Recent research confirms that web 2.0 is on the brink of proving its worth for business environments, moving from focusing on “social networking” to providing benefits of an enhanced knowledge base that can be easily and quickly be tapped into, as well as for potential for cost savings:
- A recent McKinsey Global Survey of executives cited widespread interest in the web 2.0. These executives noted that they see the most value on the technologies of Web 2.0 that enable automation and networking.
- Forrester has reported that the enterprise Web 2.0 market will continue to gain importance in 2008 as an increasing number of firms look to the tools to solve long-standing information worker problems. The report noted that for a majority of enterprises, Web 2.0 will be a 2008 priority.
Sabre launched its own, employee community of cubeless in 2007. Born out of the work from Sabre Travel Studios, employees have used the power of the connected community to build their knowledge, find a certain skill set for a work team, and check out travel information such as the best mode of airport transport to the local office or just simply which hotel has the best location or service for an upcoming trip.
Sabre Travel Studios is the company’s “incubator for positive change,” looking at travel outside the box and “the art of the possible.” The team identifies, tests, and launches new travel concepts that show benefit for the marketplace – bringing innovative approaches to business challenges.
“Our internal experience has been valuable and, in fact, we are working on additional capabilities for sharing, advice or travel,” said John Samuel, head of Sabre Travel Studios at Sabre Holdings.
These capabilities, for example, would allow a GetThere traveler to automatically populate and share their trip information from their cubeless profile. And this could lead to some cost savings as well – once employees know they are traveling to the same location, they can arrange to share ground transportation, for example. It really is a case of the more you use it, the more ways you find to benefit, which is at the core of Enterprise 2.0 – social networking that works for business.”
Sabre reports more than 10,000 profiles have been submitted since the internal launch of cubeless. In a single month period, more than 900 referrals had been sent to others whose profiles indicated knowledge or expertise they could address, and more than half of these referrals received a response from this initial referral.
Samuel cites a sampling of recent collaborations between Sabre employees using its version of cubeless in conjunction with a business trip: Information about the area they are staying (i.e. “Does anyone know anything about downtown Denver, we have a meeting there next week. Is there much to do? Suggestions?”) to types of restaurants that would be conducive to take clients to tour suggestions while they are in a particular locations. Global employees located in regions outside of the U.S. headquarters have particularly enjoyed the ability to connect in a more immediate fashion along with fostering breaking down of barriers and collaboration between disparate teams.
“’Sabre connected’ is more than just a tag line for us,” said Klein. ”It’s about leveraging the power of our connected network for travelers and for our customers. cubeless is a natural extension of our continued mission to push and expand the ways we can connect and leverage the world’s most powerhouse network of travelers, travel suppliers and travel buyers — there is absolutely no-one in the world that is in a better position to take the next step in getting travelers connected.”
Sabre’s experience with leveraging collaborative tools include the very successful application of a collaborative tool for software development, and of course, it’s experience with IgoUgo, one of the most popular online travel communities in the world. Its 350,000 members—world-seasoned and passionate travelers—share firsthand travel experiences, advice, and photos, with candid tips and inspiring stories covering more than 5,500 global destinations
GetThere, which already works closely with American Express Business Travel in serving hundreds of corporate travel programs, is finalizing its plans for the cubeless module and plans to work with American Express Business Travel to manage the ultimate implementation of the new technology for clients.
Sabre handles more business travel transactions than any other global distribution system, and GetThere facilitated more than $9.4 billion in online corporate bookings in 2007.
About Sabre Travel Network
Sabre Travel Network, a Sabre Holdings company, provides the most comprehensive end-to-end solutions for corporate and leisure travel. The Sabre GDS is the foundation for these solutions, providing a ready-built efficient marketplace that connects travel suppliers, including hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotels, with more than 50,000 travel agency locations. Currently, Sabre collectively handles over 70 percent of the BTN 100 bookings.
Key brands of Sabre Travel Network include GetThere, for corporate travel reservation technology; Nexion, a host agency; SynXis, for hotel reservation management, distribution and technology services; E-site marketing, specializing in online business solutions exclusively for the hospitality industry TRAMS, mid- and back-office solutions and marketing services for travel agencies; and TRAMS Marketing Alliance (TMA), a marketing promotions services for leisure travel agencies. Sabre Travel Network also markets TripTailor Vacations, a travel wholesaler providing dynamic packaging for the travel agency marketplace.
Sabre Holdings connects people with the world’s greatest travel possibilities by retailing travel products and providing distribution and technology solutions for the travel industry. More information about Sabre Holdings is available at http://www.sabre-holdings.com.