Interview: Sabre Hellas’ Andreas Syrigos Tells Us All About Next-generation “Sabre Red Workspace” Solution
The solution, developed on Sabre’s merchandising platform providing access to its award-winning GDS, will allow travel agents around the world a more intuitive way to book travel. Meanwhile, airlines, hotels and other industry suppliers will be able to market their brands in the same way they market in other channels.
Sabre will begin upgrading travel agency customers in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to the new solution in early 2017, after a pilot later this year.
The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) caught up with Sabre’s country director in Greece, Andreas Syrigos, who lets us know what the Greek travel industry should expect from the game-changing “Sabre Red Workspace” solution.
- GTP: Sabre recently gave a sneak preview of its latest Sabre Red Workspace agent desktop system. What can you tell us about the new features of this platform? What exactly does Sabre’s latest innovation bring to the travel industry?
Andreas Syrigos: Sabre Red Workspace is our next-generation travel agency platform, developed to help our customers meet the new, more empowered traveler, who increasingly wants personalization, choice and the ability to unbundle every component of a ticket and dynamically re-bundle it match their needs. Our new Sabre Red Workspace provides that same content rich marketplace, but with new decision support tools, predictive data insights and merchandising capabilities that bring agents and suppliers together to create personalized experiences for travelers.
Agents and suppliers helped develop it — playing a major role in the new, more graphically-rich user interface which combines the look and feel of a consumer website with data insights, and product differentiation for ancillary services and Branded Fares, all geared to help agents create personalized offerings and sell travel more effectively. Meanwhile, the airlines, hotels and other industry suppliers can market their brands in the same way they market in other channels.
- GTP: What benefits should Greek travel agents and their customers expect from this upgraded technology?
Andreas Syrigos: Because it’s a platform, we’ve been able to integrate our Dev Studio APIs, which provide market data, fare trend information, travel seasonality and alternate airports — neatly displayed on a Decision Support Bar — that I believe is unique for offline agents. Armed with these insights, your next call to a travel agent using Sabre will result in them advising you the best time to book to get the best price, predicting the best days of travel, or offering you more options to choose from including alternate airports displayed in interactive maps. That’s travel consultancy at its best, and this mean a real personalized travel experience for customers.
- GTP: Could you provide more details on the “Decision Support Bar” of the platform?
Andreas Syrigos: The new Sabre Red Workspace includes a Decision Support Bar that provides the consultant instant access to market data for Fare Trends, Travel Seasonality, Fare Ranges, Alternate Dates, and Alternate Airports. This data, based on Sabre’s marketplace intelligence and delivered by Sabre APIs, provides instant access to information without having to invoke additional commands. All these data and insights, presented in a way that’s easy to act upon thanks to the graphical interface, will allow travel agent to be a better consultant for the customer.
The decision support bar contains:
– Fares Trend → 2 weeks of historical informations from Sabre global data
– Travel Seasonality → 1 year of global (Sabre) data on what has been search
– Alternative Dates → savings
– Fare Ranges → the average of rate based on ticketed data (1 month)
– Alternative Airports → saving time or money (displayed in interactive maps)
- GTP: Beginning next year, Sabre will migrate subscribers to this latest Sabre Red Workspace platform. But how has the platform been received by those who have had a chance to use it to date?
Andreas Syrigos: Beta testing started on June 6 (300+ participants i.e. selected group of customers). Pilot phase will be from September to January. Global upgrades are planned for early 2017. Across Europe we are having very good feedback, highlighting the fact that Sabre’s new solution addresses travelers’ expectation to provide unique value to their trip, putting data insights, customer profiles and merchandising capabilities right at the agent’s fingertips, making it much easier and more efficient to provide that something special at every stage of the travel lifecycle.
- GTP: What are the characteristics of the Greek travel market and how do you expect Greek travel agents to embrace this new technology?
Andreas Syrigos: The Greek travel industry is in a good position to embrace new technologies as it has been growing overall during the last years. Sabre’s 25 years presence in the Greek market is strong evidence of our commitment to our customers and the travelers being served. In my conversations with the top Greek customers’ travel agencies, I see they are willing to adapt new solutions in order to grow internally and expand internationally. The new generation of Sabre Red Workspace will transform the way travel consultants and suppliers will address the needs of all travelers.
- GTP: Technology is evolving. In general, are Greek travel agents evolving as well in regards to their online presence?
Andreas Syrigos: The industry is evolving due to the new, disruptive technologies in all aspects: suppliers, developers and travel agencies. They are all in the need of intelligence tools that will support their business decisions. Predictive data insight will enable them to easily provide personalized experience to their customers. I see two types of Greek travel agencies: ones willing to embrace change to modernize their operation and improve efficiency. The other type is more traditional and needs more time to understand the impact to their business model. Sabre can help both types thanks to our local and global experience.
- GTP: In your opinion and experience, how competitive is the GDS market in Greece?
Andreas Syrigos: Sabre’s technology investments combined with our global insights and deep local market expertise of a regional team, are a powerful combination, that provides in Greece more innovation and service options for agencies looking to accelerate their growth.
The GDS market in Greece is very competitive but also of high importance for Sabre; it is part of the top European countries as well as Spain, France or Italy. As an example, the major projects as the new generation of Sabre Red Workspace are announced at the same time across Europe, Greece included. Also, Sabre aims to offer its full portfolio of solutions to enable Greek travel agencies to expand internationally without any limitations.
- GTP: Sabre is heavily driven by innovation. What are the company’s future plans for the Greek market?
Andreas Syrigos: Sabre is the technology partner of choice for agencies who want to be more efficient, more successful, and more profitable. Sabre has made significant investments in the very latest technology such as mobile, low fare search tools, data analytics and personalisation, and this combined with our 1:1 approach to solving customer issues, are our key differentiators. We believe there is a great opportunity for agencies in Greece to use the very latest technology to differentiate their business.
- GTP: How does Sabre see Greek tourism in general and its immediate future?
Andreas Syrigos: I feel very positive about the future of Greek tourism as Greece has developed itself to one of the most popular destinations. We are seeing smarter travelers with new customer behaviors coming to Greece and Greek travel agencies are learning from this in order to evolve and adapt to a new technology environment. Data analytics, personalization and mobile have been driving the innovation in this environment and within Sabre. This is the reason why we are helping all travel agencies to rapidly embrace this change and become more competitive in a global marketplace.
Sabre provides content and technology to almost all of the travel industry including online and offline travel agents, and direct and indirect channels. Although different channels, the goal to provide travellers an easy and more personalised shopping experience lies at the heart of all travel buyers and suppliers, and that’s why Sabre has invested so much in data analytics and personalisation capabilities, in addition to providing the lowest fares, dynamic packaging (coupling flights and hotels), new products and ways of searching (inspiration search and UX), and delivering travel options on mobiles/tablets. That’s what our established technology relationship with is driving, diversifying its services and continuously improving its customers’ booking experience.