Sabre has added negotiated and discounted rates for car hire to its Virtually There online itinerary and travel-shopping tool. The development means that travellers can hire cars and benefit from their travel agency`s special rates, even while they are on the move.
When a travel booking is completed, agencies can ask the Sabre GDS automatically to send their customers an email that contains a personal booking code and a link to the Virtually There website. Travellers then use the personal code to access all their itinerary details and destination information. The site also lets them buy extra travel services, and the agency that made the original booking is credited with all commissions from additional bookings.
Sabre`s European vice president of marketing and customer services, Stuart Nassos, said car hire was one of the additional travel services most frequently booked through Virtually There. “Many car bookings arise from unexpected changes to travellers` schedules”, he said. “It may be that they happen to have free time on a business trip, or that they need suddenly to travel further afield within the region they are visiting. Virtually There lets them do this within their existing itineraries, and now they can also benefit from special rates that their travel agencies may have negotiated with car hire companies”.
Other recent enhancements to the product include additional privacy barriers, publication of regular and emergency contact numbers for the travel agency that made the booking, pick-up and drop-off times for any car hire, and a currency converter. Virtually There has also been translated into Swedish and Greek, bringing to 13 the number of languages in which it is available.