Enhanced offerings and capabilities benefit all travel agents regardless of GDS affiliation or segment
SOUTHLAKE, Texas – Sept. 10, 2007 -Sabre Travel Network’s comprehensive portfolio tailored specifically for leisure agencies has grown exponentially in the first year since announcing its leisure marketplace as the ultimate source of comprehensive shopping for the leisure travel experience.
The significant growth of Sabre’s leisure marketplace includes expanded content to increase agencies’ revenues, advanced customer relationship and financial reporting tools, marketing programs to broaden sales opportunities, and networking opportunities to share expertise.
“We listened to what leisure travel agents told us they need – more opportunities to increase profits, and more services that complement and expand their expertise,” said Greg Webb, chief marketing officer, Sabre Travel Network and Sabre Airline Solutions. “We’ve been investing and will continue to invest resources to deliver on our commitment to provide the best end-to-end solutions for leisure agents.”
One of the highlights for the year was the launch of the new tour operator, TripTailor Vacations. In the first year, more than 4,200 Sabre and non-Sabre agents have taken advantage of TripTailor’s tremendous breadth of the products, its competitive pricing and dynamic-packaging capabilities. To date, agents selling TripTailor Vacations have sent more than 40,000 customers on individualized packaged vacations, and they’ve earned more than $2 million in commissions, service fees and bonus commissions. Additionally, the more than 9,000 agents who signed up for the Sabre Rewards Plus program in the first year have earned nearly three million Rewards Plus points.
“TripTailor Vacations lets me package air, car and hotel for my clients to destinations all over the world – and all at rates that are extremely competitive to what can be found on the Internet,” said travel agent Robbi Hamida of TUR Travel. “Plus, not only can I deliver the whole experience and provide excellent service through one content-rich site, but I also can earn commissions on everything from the flight booking to theme park tickets.”
Other industry-leading enhancements during the past 12 months that benefit the leisure travel agent community by providing the best travel product selection, as well as unique opportunities to increase agency revenue, include the following:
– Introduced VacationStudio, powered by MySabre, making leisure travel products such as Sabre Cruises, TripTailor Vacations and Agent59 available to all travel professionals in North America, regardless of their GDS participation. With no contract required, VacationStudio is free to all travel professionals. It’s available through MySabre or at vacationstudio.com.
– Enhanced browser-based Sabre Cruises to provide improved shopping and booking on the 12 participating cruise lines. New features include enhanced client documentation, such as the ability to print deck plans, cabin pictures and pricing comparisons, as well as functionality that enables agents to make bookings faster, including the ability to clone a booking and perform a quick sell.
– Expanded Travel Extras’ number of available destination activities, including theme parks, museums, theater and dining, transportation and assistance in obtaining passports and visas
– Added travel insurance vendor Travel Insured International, bringing Sabre’s total number of insurance providers to 12 worldwide. Agents can book through a graphical tool and earn competitive commissions on insurance sales.
– Enhanced hotel shopping and booking capabilities with launch of the Rate Assured hotel program, the first of its kind to monitor rate parity at the property level to ensure Sabre Connected travel agents can book the lowest publicly available hotel rates. Also increased hotel content to more than 80,000 properties now available in the Sabre system
– Introduced new air shopping and booking capabilities, including: next-generation airline availability to reduce response time and provide accurate last-seat availability across a large number of itinerary options; NetCheck to increase efficiency for agency customers verifying they have the best rates available through the GDS; and the low-fare savings calculator tool based on the Topaz International study, which found that on average Sabre offers fares at least 10 percent lower than other GDS’s .
Also during the past year, Sabre focused on advancing customer service tools that help agencies build lasting relationships with customers, improving accounting and reporting solutions to help agents better run their businesses, growing marketing programs that bring qualified leads to agents, and increasing opportunities for agents to network and expand their expertise. Successes in these areas include:
– Sabre Virtually There added mobile services that allow customers of a Sabre Connected agency to check flight information and received updates on their Web-enabled mobile devices, as well as checking estimated times at airport security check points.
– Sabre increased its educational opportunities for agents, providing numerous online and onsite training events to help enrich agents’ knowledge.
– TRAMS Technology and Marketing University gave more than 1,000 agents and suppliers the opportunity to collaborate on industry issues and receive training on TRAMS products to ensure their success.
– Summer Camp provided hands-on training on TRAMS back-office and marketing tools to more than 300 agents.
– Sabre’s new Agent Forum, available in VacationStudio, enables agents to meet, share ideas and exchange information such as destination insight and Sabre tips. To celebrate the launch, Sabre will review agent input each week during the month of September and award the “Most Helpful Travel Agent” with a $25 Target gift card.
– More than 80 instructor-led, online classes were offered on a monthly basis, and Web seminars and virtual product fairs covered tools to help agents increase profits and enhance their customer service expertise.
– Nexion focused on enriching agents’ business and delivered multiple new programs to make agents more successful:
– Moved from once-monthly to twice-monthly commission payments for independent travel agents, which increases the timeliness of their cash flow and efficiency of their businesses.
– Introduced a three-day Nexion Boot Camp to ensure the highest return on investment for every Nexion member. The boot camp includes interactive sessions with members, suppliers and the Nexion team, and topics include training for sales, marketing, product and business skills. Nexion will hold its first-ever member conference on September 26, 2007.
– Nexion launched the CoNexion social networking tool to facilitate the sharing of ideas and best practices among Nexion members across the United States.
In addition to these product and service enhancements, Sabre today is announcing its Technology and Marketing University, a joint effort between all of its leisure brands – including Sabre Travel Network, Nexion and TRAMS – to offer continuing education for all their travel-agent customers. Planned for April 22-24, 2008, at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, the Technology and Marketing University will provide agents with hands-on and classroom training on a variety of technology, marketing and business topics. Agents will receive more detailed information on the educational event in the coming months.
“By bringing all of our brands and resources together, we’ll be able to offer the most extensive learning options available to travel agents, and we’ll offer it all at one time in one place,” said Webb. “These sessions will allow agents to have convenient access to the education they want and need to run efficient, profitable businesses, which is exactly what we’re here to help them achieve.”
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; 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.