Sabre Holdings Corporation (NYSE: TSG), the company that touches 60 million travelers worldwide each year through corporations, travel agents, online booking engines and airline call desks, today announced that it has invested an undisclosed amount in EncrypTix, a new private company formed by Stamps.com. Through this alliance, technology will be developed to allow consumers and travel agencies around the world to purchase and instantly print travel and event tickets for venues such as amusement parks, movie theaters, and ski resorts using a PC, Internet connection and laser or ink jet printer.
With this technology, Sabre plans to expand the current individualized trip itinerary and destination information offering of its Virtually There Web site (www.virtuallythere.com) announced in November. Consumers could purchase and print sporting, event and entertainment tickets from the convenience of their home and receive discount coupons along with their purchase.
“We see expanded revenue opportunities for Sabre’s e-commerce initiatives including Travelocity.com, Virtually There, Sabre Business Travel Solutions(R) and a number of other important products,” said Nancy Raynor, senior vice president of emerging businesses at Sabre. “Virtually There will provide a new point-of-sale and distribution outlet for a variety of travel and entertainment suppliers. In addition Sabre would be able to sell unsold or last minute inventory. Once again, Sabre is seizing an unprecedented e-commerce opportunity.”
Sabre obtained exclusive distribution rights through its computer reservations system (CRS) of EncrypTix printing technology in the following geographic markets: North America, Latin America, Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Sabre sees potential to utilize the technology resulting from this alliance to substantially reduce its customer’s costs associated with operating specialized printers and reduce the need for valuable ticket stock. This agreement also allows Sabre to help customers better manage yields, thus increasing the ability to sell event tickets at the last minute that otherwise would go unsold.
“We approached Sabre because of their dramatic global market share and a history of technological leadership that will help us seize the burgeoning, online ticketing business,” said Jim Rowan, president and CEO of EncrypTix. “EncrypTix and Sabre will work together to reach as many of the 60 million unique Sabre connected customers as possible.”
Soon EncrypTix will leverage the secure technology of Stamps.com’s Internet Postage(TM) to enable Sabre customers to purchase and immediately print tickets, coupons and vouchers using a PC, printer and Internet connection. This technology, currently employed in the Internet Postage market, has already received the U.S. government’s approval for its high-level of security.
As this technology is implemented across the travel industry, travelers will be able to print their ticket from any Internet-connected PC and printer at their convenience. Travelers will also gain the ability to e-mail tickets to others, and obtain valuable discount coupons for food and merchandise that could be included with the printed ticket.
With nearly a 50% U.S. electronic ticketing penetration rate, the convenience of traveling ticketless is enhanced for travelers who need a receipt or record of their travel plans.
Once this new ticketing system is introduced to the market place, travel consultants will no longer need to purchase or lease expensive, specialty printers and ticket stock. Rather, travel consultants will be able to print tickets on a standard printer and even reduce mailing costs once the ability to e-mail tickets to customers is introduced. With this technology, travel consultants will have the potential to increase the profitability of fulfilling airline ticket requests. Lower costs will give travel agents greater flexibility in setting ticket-handling fees for their clients.
Sabre will work closely with travel providers to furnish them with the tools necessary to implement this new, groundbreaking ticketing technology. Travel providers, such as airlines, will benefit from this technology with the potential to reduce the fraudulent use of airline ticket stock. According to a report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, airlines reported losing $9.7 million in stolen tickets. Additionally, travel suppliers could have the opportunity to increase promotional selling via Internet-printed tickets and vouchers.