Sabre outlined the travel industry’s latest technological innovations and trends to more than 500 members of the Asia Pacific trade last week, at its first Asia Pacific Travel Technology Exchange.
The event in Beijing saw Sean Menke, president of Sabre Travel Network, share an update on the company’s travel agency business, while Wade Jones, senior vice president of marketing and strategy for Sabre Travel Network, discussed Sabre’s evolution from being a simple GDS to its current advanced platform.
Sabre is introducing a new version of its travel agency desktop solution, the Red Workspace, in 2017.
“The traveller ecosystem has grown and diversified, and our Travel Network team has built an upgraded technology platform that’s modelled on this,” commented Jones. “At the heart of this platform sits the GDS. That core technology is still critically important. But now, if you look from top to bottom you also see Sabre supporting endpoints like mobile, new User Interfaces for agents and application services across our offerings – all resting on powerful shared platform services. In a nutshell, Sabre has created a modern, value-creation platform that’s driving the traveller ecosystem.”
Looking ahead, Roshan Mendis (pictured top), senior vice president of Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific, commented on the many new innovations that could shape the future of the travel industry.
“Today the travel industry is on the cusp of a major technological boom. From driverless cars to virtual reality, smart watches, social media and messaging apps, the impact technology will have on travel in the next decade is going to be huge,” Mendis said. “But new technologies are only powerful if they are relevant. To be truly relevant we have to understand the changing drivers influencing travel – historically, now and in the future.”
John Samuel, Sabre’s senior vice president of design, focused on one of the emerging technologies currently being explored by Sabre: messaging apps.
“The travel industry, more than others, is well-poised for the uptake of messaging apps to automate components of the travel chain – from shopping and booking, and merchandising, to service and support. The key to a successful adoption will be creating the right mix of automation and human interaction. We are in an industry which has a wealth of human knowledge, and this directly complements the use of listening and answering engines embedded within a messaging platform for travel,” he said.
“Many of the repetitive tasks and questions can be done by chatbots, but at any time the model can’t answer it can hand back to humans for support. The result for travel consultants is more time to provide an enhanced service to customers and, ultimately, the ability to sell more.”
Sabre’s TTX event was also addressed by Alex Tang, Asia Pacific managing director of commercial space travel company XCOR, who discussed the evolution of their growing industry.
Delegates from 26 countries took party in the three-day conference, spending a collective 10,000 hours talking about travel and technology. Mendis concluded that the first Asia Pacific TTX is all about the exchange of ideas. “That’s how we make sure our business keeps evolving in a truly relevant way. If we know our customers inside out, and we really understand their opportunities, we can develop technologies that truly enhance their business,” he noted.