Sabre Extends Merchant Programme to European Hotels

Sabre Travel Network is bringing to Europe its Sabre Exclusives hotels programme, launched in the US a year ago.  It will negotiate discounted rates with participating hotels and make these available, through the Sabre global distribution system (GDS), to its network of travel agency customers. 

The company has signed an agreement with Manchester-based hotel booking agency NIS Europe to provide marketing and infrastructure support for the region. 

This is the first integrated merchant-model programme available in any GDS and more than 1,700 North American properties are already contracted to it. Sabre Travel Network
expects 300 to 500 properties to form the nucleus of the European product, and these will be available to North American travel agents during August.  European agents will start to have access to the full programme in the fourth quarter this year. 

Through the programme, participating hotels agree a specially negotiated rate with Sabre Travel Network for a specific number of rooms the hotels want to market each day.  These are then distributed through the Sabre GDS.  Agencies earn between 10 and 15 percent commission on rooms booked under the programme, and Sabre Travel Network pays these guaranteed commissions twice a month.  The company says this will eliminate delay and currency exchange issues often experienced by agents when settling commissions directly with hotels.

Sabre Exclusives will be marketed as among the best leisure rates available and are backed by a low rate guarantee.  They are displayed primarily for bookings to specific leisure destinations, or for weekend visits.  Floyd Widener, Sabre Travel Network’s European vice president of emerging business, said the company did not want to inadvertently undercut corporate negotiated deals for business travel.


“The objective is to help hotels sell more leisure beds,” Widener said.  “It’s about harnessing the terrific power of our travel agency network, and putting this to work for our hotel customers.

“Hotels benefit because it gives them an additional chance to market empty rooms.  Agencies benefit because it expands their booking options and gives them access to some of the best rates on the market.”

Hotel bookings represent a significant growth opportunity for travel agencies looking to generate new sources of revenue.  “Sabre Travel Network has been urging agencies to diversify their revenue streams for some time, and this is another opportunity,” Widener said.

Hotels can track their participation and are able to adjust at any point the number of rooms they make available through Sabre Exclusives.

Chris Heinz, Wyndham International
`s senior vice president of distribution and revenue management, is enthusiastic about the programme.

“Partnering with Sabre Exclusives extends our commitment to the travel agency community by offering competitive leisure travel rates,” he said.  “Through our participation we expect to generate incremental revenues at all Wyndham-branded properties.” 

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