June 04, 2018

Sabre’s CEO on going technology-first


As the company strives to make up ground on rival Amadeus, new air distribution innovations have become a priority along with refined hospitality products and new ways to interact with travelers themselves.

Skift has interviewed Sabre CEO Sean Menke about his strategy and the evolving distribution landscape in the leadup to his appearance at the upcoming Skift Tech Forum on June 12 in Silicon Valley.

Skift: Sabre has been in the middle of a continued push into hotel services, among other areas. How important is it to provide a variety of different technology offerings across the sector?

Menke: When it comes to hotels, there are two customer segments that are most important to us. The first is what we call mid-market independents, which are chains that typically have anywhere from five to maybe a couple hundred properties in their system. A decade ago, these are the companies that realized they couldn’t keep up with the pace and cost of innovation, so we stepped in as a partner to drive technology solutions. Historically, this segment has been the core of our growth.

The other large segment is the enterprise space, which are the large global chains that you know well and probably frequent on your own travels. Historically the enterprise chains focused on developing their own technology, but especially now in an era of continued consolidation, we’re having conversations with every one of the large chains around their technology roadmaps and how we might partner with them to develop future technology. We saw something similar with the airlines roughly 15 years ago.

For both of those segments, I need to reiterate the importance of data and analytics – each of our solutions is more powerful when it’s driven by insights that come from data. If you were to visit a hotel’s website, log in with your loyalty number and book a room directly, they’d have a pretty good idea of your preferences as a traveler. But if you look at the other bookings that come through channels like the GDS or online travel agencies, ultimately the hotels know very little about you. That makes it very hard for hotels to create a customized offer and a guest experience that’s tailored to drive meaningful value for you personally. That’s why we believe the data that sits in our systems is a kind of fuel that powers the engine of next-generation retailing, including on the hospitality side of our business.

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