Sabre Pacific paints the town Red
His experience is ideal for the job – his career has included time with Travelport, Flight Centre and International SOS – and has given him a keen insight into what agents want from their GDS.
The company’s Singapore-based parent company Abacus hosted around 500 key industry partners at its recent International Conference 2014 in Abu Dhabi, and ceo Robert Bailey told travelBulletin how important the Australian and New Zealand markets are to the company. Australia/NZ comprises around 45 million international segments annually, ahead of both Korea and India at 42 million each and Japan with 37 million.
At the conference Bailey unveiled a range of initiatives for Abacus’ 31 markets across the region, which as well as Australia/NZ encompasses destinations as diverse as Bangladesh and even Kazakhstan. A major move by Abacus is the adoption of the Sabre Red Workspace technology, which has in turn enabled a range of enhancements to be quickly rolled out.
Sabre Red is already available in the local market, and van de Klundert said the company’s vision is to “paint the town red” by highlighting the enhancements and options which make the GDS easier to use. Sabre Red Apps plug into the workspace to provide an extensible toolkit for travel agents, with a variety of apps available such as SeatGuru aircraft seat maps right through to the booking of Uber transfers.
“We want to work with agents to make their businesses profitable… we want them to be with us for the future,” he told travelBulletin. Since taking over he has spent time listening to customers and “realigned” the 150-strong Sabre Pacific team, with initiatives including extending the support for Sabre Agency Manager from 8am New Zealand time right through to 5pm in Perth.
Key themes for Sabre Pacific include mobile platforms, the automation of systems to help enhance agents’ relationships with their clients, and “travel intelligence” – making the most of the plethora of data produced by the GDS which van de Klundert says is currently under-utilised.
Sabre Pacific is currently evaluating the new products from Abacus with a view to adopting them in the local market. The options include Abacus ContentPlus, a new system aggregating low-cost carrier, hotel, car, insurance and ground products into a single point of sale. ContentPlus offers “super-PNR integration” meaning that bookings made can be tracked via agency back office systems, and current partners include Indonesian bedbank MG Group which combines wholesale net rates from up to 25 accommodation aggregators.
Low cost carrier options are provided via a partnership with UK-based Travelfusion, while destination sightseeing products are available in the system via the City Discovery portfolio and a comprehensive range of car hire options is offered through CarTrawler.
Another addition to the range is Abacus TravelPlus, a web-based system for wholesalers which is understood to have already attracted attention from some Australian operators. TravelPlus allows users to manage sub-agents, package up product and even create e-Flyers.
Abacus is making it easy for agents to have their own branded mobile App via Abacus MobileConnect to enable clients to make bookings, manage flight alerts and even receive destination weather and event information.
And Abacus also launched a new virtual payment solution with UK-based Conferma, giving TMCs and corporate agencies access to a secure virtual payment solution fully integrated within the Abacus workspace.