Sabre Holdings Corporation , has announced a new multi-year offering for airlines in its Participating Carrier Agreement, which covers the distribution of airline content through Sabre`s global distribution system (GDS).
Eric Speck, chief marketing officer - Sabre
The new Direct Connect Availability (DCA) Three-Year Option guarantees Sabre Holdings access to all published fares, promotions, and services of a participating airline, and commits the carrier to a three-year term at the highest level of participation in the GDS, in exchange for an established booking fee rate. All content will be made available through all Sabre connected channels, both online and offline.
US Airways has partnered with Sabre for the DCA Three-Year Option. Beginning today, Sabre-connected travel agents, offline and online, can book all US Airways’ content, including Web fares, through the Sabre GDS, and will enjoy the benefits of US Airways’ commitment to making all US Airways’ fares available to Sabre users, as well as access to other products and services.
“We applaud US Airways’ move to reduce fare confusion in the marketplace, and we are extending that same opportunity to other airlines,” said Eric Speck
, chief marketing officer, Sabre Holdings Corporation. “Our three-year option gives us a long-term commitment for full support from our airline suppliers and in turn, we provide carriers with price certainty for the most cost effective electronic means available to distribute fares and content to travel agents, online and offline.”
The three-year option is available to all airlines with U.S. points of sale. Current agreements typically cover only 30-day terms. In the Sabre GDS, DCA is the highest of six different connectivity levels. The levels provide airlines with a wide range of services to market and sell their flight and fare information to approximately 60,000 travel agents around the world.
Through the DCA Three-Year Option, the airline agrees to provide all published fares with the exception of opaque fares (those where the supplier’s identity is not disclosed until after the sale). This includes all fares that the airline sells through any third-party Web site and through their own Web site and reservation offices. Additionally, the airline agrees to provide equal opportunities for Sabre-connected agents to have access to promotions that the airline may make available through other channels, including competing reservation systems and third-party Web sites.
The company anticipates that the DCA Three-Year Option will increase the number of reservations through the GDS, as assured access to all fares, services and promotions decreases the need to search supplier direct and other alternative channels.
In exchange for the benefits to Sabre, the participating airline will receive a reduction to its booking fee for DCA of approximately 10 percent, which represents an average of $0.40 per booking. The booking fee rate will be guaranteed for three years, as will the fee for cancellations.
“As the Internet has evolved from a niche marketing tool to a mainline distribution channel, travel agencies and corporate travelers have become frustrated with the discrepancies among the various fares airlines offer online versus more traditional distribution methods,” said B. Ben Baldanza, US Airways senior vice president marketing and planning. “We are joining with Sabre to respond to these concerns by eliminating the barriers and making Web Fares available via all Sabre channels. This move will allow US Airways to better manage distribution costs over the term of the agreement. “