has bolstered recent new business gains in Scandinavia with the conversion of the region’s largest online travel agency, Resfeber.
The agency’s decision to switch to the Sabre global distribution system (GDS) comes hot on the heels of a similar move by Stockholm-based consolidator and Middle East specialist, NTT International Tours and Travel.
The leading online travel company Travelocity Europe acquired Resfeber in mid-2002. Although Sabre Holdings is a shareholder in Travelocity Europe, Resfeber’s conversion from Amadeus to the Sabre global distribution system was never guaranteed.
“We were given completely free rein by Travelocity Europe and were under no pressure to convert,” said Resfeber chief executive officer Didrik von Seth. “Our decision was driven by Sabre Travel Network’s determination to offer the very best GDS customer service in Scandinavia, its flexibility, and because its technology will enhance some important development projects we have planned.”
Resfeber is headquartered in Stockholm, but also has offices in Oslo and Copenhagen. While most of its travel is sold online, call centres in these cities handle one in every eight of the online agency’s bookings.
The conversion adds impetus to Sabre Travel Network’s growth ambitions in Scandinavia. Acting managing director Kath Webster said recently that she wanted to grow bookings share in the region “aggressively”. Last month (March) she revealed that the company was introducing the customisable, high-speed Turbo Sabre booking product to help win business from high volume travel agencies here.
Sabre Travel Network’s Scandinavian functionality has been boosted in recent months with the introduction of Swedish ground transportation, additional Swedish and Norwegian rail booking capabilities, and e-ticketing on a wide range of airlines and routes. Other recent conversions include Swedish corporate and leisure travel specialist Oden Resor, and Danish agencies Check Point Travel A/S and UNITAS Rejser A/S.
“We are taking advantage of a commonly-held sentiment that the Scandinavian travel market has been dominated by a single GDS for far too long,” Webster said. “We have successfully demonstrated that travel agents do have a viable choice when it comes to GDS services.”
Related stories on ITN:
(07/03/2003) Sabre Meets with Hoteliers to Outline Distribution Potential
(31/03/2003) Sabre Announces Corporate Structure Changes