Sabre rolls out live meetings tool

Worktopia has reached an agreement with Sabre Travel Network to be the first GDS-based direct booking engine enabling live booking of meeting space in hotels and conference centers. The service, which goes live next month, will empower over 6,000 North American Sabre connected agencies with a significant new opportunity to serve the corporate meeting market.

With the debut of Worktopia on MySabre?, Sabre-connected agents gain the capability to easily search, compare and book meeting facilities within hotels and conference centers and then complete the meeting arrangements with air, hotel rooms, car and travel extras completely on-line, without the need for Requests for Proposals (RFPs), phone tag or delay.

Stephen Fitzgerald, Sabre’s Vice President for Hotel Distribution says, “With Worktopia, we are enabling our hotel partners to offer live meeting room inventory to over 6,000 North American Sabre-connected agencies. We are also providing an opportunity for Sabre agents to easily and efficiently serve their customer’s needs for group meeting related travel services and to enhance their revenue with new commissions and booking service fees.”

“With up to 80% of corporate meetings estimated to be for 50 participants and under, Worktopia now enables planners and agents to harvest one of the remaining untapped opportunities in the travel market. This efficient booking tool makes corporate meeting planning a viable new revenue source for even the smallest agency and enables their corporate customers to meet ever-shortening lead times for planning small meetings. For instance, a meeting room booking for a 50-person meeting takes about two minutes to complete on Worktopia, saving agents hours or even days of time, compared with submitting and waiting for responses to blind RFPs or calling several hotel catering departments to try to get pricing and availability information,” says John Arenas, CEO of Worktopia.

The Worktopia booking engine allows Sabre agents and meeting planners to enter specific meeting requirements—from location, room types and sizes and configurations to audio visual and catering needs—in a simple user friendly format. The engine then checks availability, displays matching solutions, provides ‘apples to apples’ pricing proposals, and then allows for on-line booking of the meeting space. Worktopia’s engine, the first and only live booking service for meeting facilities, directly accesses meeting room reservation systems data of over 2,000 hotels and meeting centers. Participating properties can choose between an annual marketing subscription and a Pay-for-Performance commission agreement. Either way, agents earn booking fees from Worktopia on meeting room bookings and continue to earn commissions on the room-nights from the hotels.

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George Brennan, EVP, Sales & Marketing for Interstate Hotels & Resorts says, “We are very pleased to see Sabre and Worktopia open up the travel agency marketing channel with their online booking engine for corporate meetings. We have been in favor of working with Worktopia’s distribution, since its annual subscription program doesn’t involve additional commissions to them for the business booked and this partnership validates and supports our own initiatives to meet the needs of the small corporate meetings market, bringing incremental revenue and room nights along with valuable customer relationships.”
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