“OK Glass, find flights from New York to Paris in November”
“OK Glass, find flights to the beach”
That’s what attendees at the IFTM TopResa* travel trade event in France heard last month, when Sabre demonstrated its Google Glass app, Flight Search. Experimenting with wearable devices is part of Sabre’s research and development efforts to better foresee potential uses for wearable apps in travel.
The explosion of apps and web-based services is evident all around us, in both our personal and professional lives. According to the Washington Post, travel / tourism alone is the third most popular topic for mobile apps, behind weather and news. Today, these are mainly limited to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, but the opportunity for wearable apps in travel is significant – we can see uses for this for travelers, airlines, hotels and agencies.
This healthy supply of apps reflects the desire by companies to make the extremely complex travel industry a bit easier for consumers. Travel shopping, for example, is time-consuming and complex; consumers never really know if they are getting the best trip at the best price. At the same time, consumers’ have higher expectations: they want an easy, intuitive and personal mobile shopping experience. Apps of all kind have helped make the travel experience that much more enjoyable and easier for consumers.
What we’re seeing is just the appetizer for what is to come in the wearable space. We see wearable apps transforming the travel experience, allowing travelers to interact with suppliers and information in a more natural way – the lift of a hand to see their gate number, the swipe of a wrist to unlock their hotel room. This is really big for all parts of the travel chain.
The Google Glass app prototype was developed by Sabre using its Dev Studio open developer platform, launched earlier this year along with 150 APIs offering air shopping – including inspirational shopping – services. Using travel APIs such as InstaFlights Search, Lead Price Calendar and Destination Finder, the wearable app is able to find the cheapest flight users need to get to their destination, should this be the name of the a city or a theme like ‘beach.’
Sabre has long recognized the value apps can bring and launched the world’s first app store for travel agents. Operating very much like a consumer app store, Sabre Red App Centre provides a wide range of travel apps to help agents be more efficient, generate more revenue and provide new products to travelers that help differentiate their service.
By making such tools available for developers, Sabre is eager to support startups and innovation within the travel industry to reinvent travel and build apps that move the world.
* IFTM TopResa is the biggest travel trade show in France. This year, it was attended by nearly 30 000 Travel professionals.