Sabre Space 2023 highlights how AI will influence the industry in years to come

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AI is the name of many a game in 2023, but how is it being applied to travel technology and how is it going to influence the industry over the next five years?

One company leading the charge is Sabre, a software company based in the United States that powers many aspects of the global travel industry including mobile apps, airport check-in kiosks, online travel sites and reservation networks.

Last week, Sabre held its inaugural ‘Sabre Space’ event in Sydney, bringing together travel agency partners in Australia to highlight its plans to modernise travel retailing and how agents can grow their business in the complex travel ecosystem in 2023.

The event also covered what the future holds for NDC (New Distribution Capability) and held a number of 15-minute ‘crash course’ sessions for agents with strategies to increase revenue, maximise efficiency, reduce costs and improve the traveller experience. 

One of the key points of the day involves the adaptation Sabre believes needs to be made by travel agencies in order to be ready to utilise new technologies as they become available in the market.

“NDC is obviously in its early stages of development, in terms of making sure that the airlines are able to supply the content, and then also that the agency tools are able to access the content and manage it,” chief product officer, Sabre, Garry Wiseman, said.

“I think, longer term, we’re going to start to see more innovation in terms of bundling from the airlines, that’s going to be more compelling.

“But right now, it’s the case of getting to the content, to be able to find it through the tools and then be able to book and service it.”

Adding to this sentiment was director, corporate and marketing communications, Sabre, Linda Koh, who said, “the message you want to send out to the agency community in Australia is to get a plan, and get your people and consultants to train on NDC because this is what’s happening.”

Sabre Space 2023, Sydney. (Supplied)

Asked on the influence that AI will have on the travel industry over the next five years, Wiseman, said, “I think there’s multiple areas in terms of the traveller journey”.

“When you think about the planning and booking, as we’re seeing today, I think there’s an opportunity for conversation AI to help both from a discovery perspective as to inspiring people as to where they might want to go, what they might want to visit when they’re there, but then also how to get there.

“I think the models are going to advance where they’re able to get live data around flights around hotels around transportation, developers start putting together itineraries for individuals.

“I don’t think that’s going to be too far out from where we’re at right now. And I suspect it’s going to continue to advance from there, where it could go ahead and actually book things for you.”

Wiseman also said he sees AI enabling more personalised results to individuals, making sure they get the most relevant options available to them as they consider travel plans.

I think AI, combined with lots of data around all the travel options, plus insights into history and profile of travels, is going to be very powerful to take a lot of the friction out of the travel booking process,

“On the retailing side, I think when you look at opportunities around merchandising around upselling, cross selling on direct websites, even on the tools on the agency side, there’s a huge amount of opportunity to leverage, again, AI to try and bring more personalised results to individuals to make sure that they get the most relevant options available to them as they they’re considering that travel,” Wiseman, said.

Sabre offer a wide range of products for the travel market, ranging from channel delivery and customer touchpoints, to data and analytics and is widely used across the travel agent industry from leisure travel companies to online travel agents and travel management companies.

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