Travel agents and other travel industry professionals from around Scandinavia gathered in Stockholm last month (October), to hear about industry trends and the role that the online channel will play in the months and years ahead. Some 90 people attended the å‘eTrends in Travelå’ event, organised by Sabre.
Technology guru and Citatgruppen executive vice president, Dan Sehlberg, spoke of growing consumer demand for products and services that suited their needs exactly. He warned that the travel industry would need to adapt to take this trend into account, and that technology had a significant role to play as an ‘enabler’ in this regard.
Sabre’s European managing director of technology, Brian Shankman, continued this theme by showing how the travel technology infrastructure of the future would support an environment where discrete, stand-alone products and groups of products would be offered to customers, according to their specific needs and requirements. He told delegates how the company was migrating from a traditional global distribution system (GDS) platform to newer, more flexible technology, while maintaining the reliability, availability and security of the traditional GDS system. He said a strong, flexible, low cost and reliable technology foundation was key to Sabre`s future.
Jeff Lavender, vice president of Travelocity Europe, gave an insight to the challenges facing the online travel booking sites in Europe. He said the market for online travel in Europe had huge potential. Dawnne Unger, Sabre’s managing director for the Nordic region, said travel agencies should be looking to diversify their revenue streams, and urged travel agencies to establish a bookable presence in the online channel.
The event also comprised a product fair, where delegates were shown how Sabre‘s latest products could contribute to a travel agency’s bottom line in the new environment that the speakers had been referring to. On display were the Sabre .Res suite of online booking engines for travel agency websites, the Virtually There online itinerary and travel-shopping tool, the customisable Turbo Sabre booking platform and the company’s new product for the Swedish market, bookable ground transportation.
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