Corporate and leisure travel agency JTB has contracted to use the Sabre global distribution system (GDS) for travel bookings in its London office. Migration from Galileo is complete and staff are using the new system to help expand their business beyond their traditional Japanese customer base.
JTB is using the Sabre for Windows booking platform on its own hardware. It is using the Internet, rather than traditional X.25 data lines, to connect to the Sabre system.
Jeff Pullen, the agency’s operations manager, said he would use the personalised Sabre Virtually There online itinerary and travel planning tool to help JTB upgrade the service it extends to travellers once the initial booking has been made. He is also reviewing Sabre Travel Network’s suite of Internet booking engines to assess their potential for an online sales strategy.
“We reviewed all the GDSs and were looking for differentiators that would help us grow our business in the UK. We based our choice largely on tools that would help us diversify our revenue streams, enhance our customer service and expand our customer base,” Pullen said.
In an uncertain environment, Pullen was also looking for longevity.
“Recent initiatives such as the launch of the DCA Three-Year Option to secure airline commitment and web-fares, as well as the introduction of the merchant model for hotel distribution, show that Sabre Travel Network is evolving rapidly with the industry,” Pullen said. “We liked that.”
Pullen said many agencies were reluctant to change GDSs simply because they perceived the process to be difficult.
“It’s not an arduous process - we agreed some specific requirements with Sabre Travel Network and watched to see that they delivered exactly according to plan. Yet there are still agencies who put up with dated technology and poor customer service because they have concerns about the process involved in changing GDSs.”