Sabre Travel Network has shifted responsibility for its European leisure travel initiative from its pan-European sales and marketing business in London to its national businesses across Europe. The move will give Sabre Travel Network’s local offices greater control of the project, designed to provide travel agents across Europe with a wider range of bookable leisure travel products.
Since the initiative was launched 14 months ago Sabre Travel Network’s leisure travel group has used the company’s strong position in the German leisure travel arena to build a comprehensive leisure strategy in other European countries. It has been examining ‘non-traditional’ sources of revenue including rail, houses, villas and cars, as well as merchandising models.
The group has signed agreements with hotel consolidators Conferma and Otedis, bringing the number of hotels bookable in the Sabre GDS to over 70,000.
In the UK Sabre Travel Network has given travel agents a direct connection to Vertical Group’s Magic Desktop, containing a wide range of bookable tour and leisure products.
“We feel there is huge opportunity to give our national businesses direct responsibility for developing the leisure content they need for their own markets,” said Richard Adams, Sabre Travel Network’s senior vice president for EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa). “This way they get what they need - not what is imposed on them from London.”
Adams said much of the new leisure focus was a result of the recent acquisition of lastminute.com by parent company Sabre Holdings.
“The acquisition moved this entire initiative up several gears - so much more is possible now than we even dreamed of a year ago,” he said. “The recent focus of the leisure team has been to evaluate the lastminute.com assets and identify assets which could be used for the benefit of our travel agency customers.”
Sabre Travel Network’s national businesses will be consulting with travel agency customers over the next few months to prioritise development potential.
In a quite separate development, Sabre’s vice president of European leisure travel, David Brown, is to leave the company.
Referring to David Brown’s departure, Sabre Travel Network’s senior vice president for the EMEA region Richard Adams said:
“David is a leading light in the industry and I’m sure he will remain so. He played a pivotal role in building Sabre Travel Network’s presence in the UK market. It was under his stewardship that the company grew to become the main challenger to Galileo in this market, and he will be sorely missed. We are hugely grateful to him for his leadership.”
“We owe David a debt of gratitude for everything he has done to help build our leisure offering since we launched the initiative a year ago,” Adams said. “We thank him for his contribution.”