While the pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for the global travel industry, it has also provided the opportunity to innovate, realign and come out stronger on the other side.
In the current market, agencies are finding ways to create value and remain solvent and as such are re-evaluating partnerships, commercial business models and distribution agreements. They are looking for efficiencies in their operations to reduce costs whilst meeting traveler demands for personalization, self-service, and automation.
Technology is playing a major role in facilitating recovery, assisting the travel industry with the challenges it faces and ushering in a new era of personalized travel that will present more opportunities for businesses and a better experience for travelers.
In this four-part blog series, we will be looking at how agencies can leverage technology to embrace traveler trends and drive value and efficiency across three key areas – personalization, partnership, and content.
The growing expectations of travelers
Before the pandemic, traveler expectations and preferences were changing. Now, these expectations have been amplified and new ones have also emerged:
- Assurance and Safety: Travelers are looking at travel as even more complex than ever before due to the uncertainties regarding travel safety. Travelers are looking to all stakeholders in the travel journey to ensure their safety and wellbeing while traveling.
- Traveler Preferences: Traveler preferences are shifting more toward the familiar, predictable, and trusted. More people are choosing to stay close to home – both domestic and regional. Traveler preferences are more purpose-driven and interest in health/wellness and eco-friendly choices continues.
- Seamless Experience: Travelers expect a stress-free seamless experience throughout the travel journey – from planning to post-trip. Contactless technologies have become a basic prerequisite for a safe and seamless travel experience, with travelers looking for ways to minimize their physical contact with others by utilizing self-service options throughout their journey.
- Personalization: Today’s travelers are influenced by digitization and social media. These tech-savvy travelers are looking for unique, new and memorable experiences unlike the traditional rigid offers and experiences once offered by travel companies. Travelers want customized vacation packages, recommendations, deals, sales and offers that are completely tailored to their needs and interests from their travel companies. Travelers also want offers, deals with consistent omnichannel experiences.
Leveraging technology to meet traveler expectations and drive value
The challenge that agencies currently face is how to deliver the experiences that customers are looking for, while also optimizing the revenue potential of new and existing opportunities and increasing efficiencies in operations to reduce costs.
In order to achieve this balance and secure a competitive edge in this new world, choosing a tech partner with the stability and resources to continue investing and developing advanced and new technology solutions needed is key.
Much more than a GDS, Sabre is uniquely positioned to be the marketplace for personalized travel, empowering agencies by supporting more intelligent retailing to meet changing traveler expectations and shifting market dynamics. We are focused on building and improving IT capabilities, processes and intelligence that allow our customers to retail these personalized offers, and as such we are investing in innovations and strategic partnerships to accelerate the path to our vision.
A key element of this is Sabre’s long-term partnership with Google. The first result of this collaboration was Sabre Travel AI, which leverages AI and machine learning tools to analyze and predict consumer behaviors. By delivering the right offer, at the right time across all relevant channels, customers are positioned to deliver tailored personalization to travelers that should drive higher conversion rates and build traveler loyalty.
In lodging, we partner with aggregators Booking.com, Bedsonline, and Expedia Partner Solutions, integrating their content with traditional GDS content from hoteliers in our Content Services for Lodging platform. This makes it easier for agents for find the perfect property and rate for travelers and provides greater lodging content to increase ancillary revenue.
To summarize, our best-in-class technology solutions, robust and expanding GDS content, and strategic industry partnerships, help agencies increase business opportunities, maximize revenue, optimize efficiencies in operations to reduce cost and deliver end-to-end personalized experience for travelers.
In the following blog posts, we will take a more in depth look into how to use technology to drive value. Next up, we will focus on personalization and how more intelligent retailing will help to meet changing traveler expectations and shifting market dynamics.