Sabre Travel Network and Conferma have launched Hotels@Desk, an online hotel booking tool exclusively for UK-based Sabre Connected agents to offer to their corporate customers.
Hotels@Desk gives business travellers full search and booking capabilities with over 90,000 hotel properties, including budget hotels. A company’s ‘preferred supplier’ hotels are highlighted during the search and booking process, guiding the executive to book within corporate travel policy. Other features include high quality images, maps and descriptions of hotel properties.
The product is branded with the participating agent’s logo and accessed online from the business traveller’s computer. It can either be built into a corporation’s intranet or accessed through a password-protected website. Bookings are fulfilled by the agent and integrated in the traveller’s Sabre PNR (Passenger name Record).
Hotels@Desk is aimed at corporations who do not already use a full-service online corporate booking tool covering air, hotel, car and rail, such as GetThere.
While business travellers are happy to book their air travel within corporate travel policy and through their corporate travel agency, it is estimated by PhocusWright that currently more than 60 percent of corporate bookings are made directly with hotels*.
Reet Wiseman, Sabre Travel Network’s vice-president for the UK and Ireland, said: “By offering Hotels@Desk to their corporate customers, agents can increase the number of corporate hotel bookings they manage and receive additional revenue through transaction fees and commissions.”
Hotels@Desk will deliver additional cost savings to corporations through increased traveller compliance with travel policy, and use of corporate or agency negotiated rates. Corporate travel managers will benefit from improved management information and data, and will have greater ability to track staff while travelling on business.
Wiseman said Sabre Travel Network was focusing on developing a wide-ranging arsenal of business management and development tools for travel agents.
“Hotels@Desk is one example of how we are helping our agency customers to identify and exploit additional revenue streams,” she said.
Paul Raymond, Conferma’s managing director, said: “This innovative approach addresses effectively the issue of executives booking hotels outside company policy and outside the managed travel programme. Hotels@Desk allows Sabre Connected agents to manage hotel bookings quickly, accurately and cost efficiently for their clients. We admire Sabre’s commitment to adding value to their travel agency customers and look forward to extending our working relationship with them.”
Jon Smiles, Advantage Focus Partnership’s technology manager, said: “We can’t wait to get our hands on this product as it will make a real difference to the service we offer our corporate clients. One of the major attractions for us is the opportunity to preference bookings for our own negotiated hotel rates and hotel partners. Congratulations to Sabre for leading the other GDSs in helping agents secure greater non-air revenue.”
Sabre Holdings has the largest hotel inventory and sells more hotel room nights than any other company in the world through Sabre Travel Network, Travelocity and lastminute.com. Hotel revenues represent approximately ten percent of total Sabre Travel Network revenue and the company expects revenue from hotels to become a much more significant piece of its portfolio going forward.
Hotels@Desk is another example of the end-to-end solutions available from Sabre Travel Network that both corporate and leisure travel agents can use to help increase both revenue opportunities and enhance customer service. In addition, it accesses the largest travel agency base of customers to help hotels sell more services.
Other initiatives recently introduced include Hotel UpSell, a product that enables hoteliers to automatically offer upgrades when travel agents book hotel rooms in the Sabre GDS. Travel agents benefit as they are able to offer customers higher-value products during the hotel booking process, thereby increasing commission payments. Hoteliers benefit by increased revenue through the sale of additional products and services.
Last November the company announced the global launch of a Web-based product, Sabre Worldwide Commission Manager, aimed at helping hotels and travel agencies manage hotel booking commissions more effectively. As a result hotel operators around the world will have the ability to track commission payments to travel agencies on a global scale, while enabling agencies to track, manage and - where necessary - claim commissions easily and efficiently.