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Rattling the travel Sabre: interview

The future of travel and the vital role travel agents will play in restoring consumer confidence. These are just some of the topics covered in our exclusive chat with TODD ARTHUR, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Agency Sales Travel Solutions, Sabre.


You’ve visited 117 countries so far. What are some of your favourites?

My wife and I love to go back to our favourite cities as often as we can, including Paris, where we got married, Cape Town and New York. But some of the best experiences are those that are unique.

North Korea was an eye opener, Beirut was more beautiful than I had expected and Oman was the friendliest country I have been to.


What is your best travel tip?

Be open to new destinations or new experiences. The entire travel industry is adapting with new cleanliness, health and safety measures to safeguard the traveller and put the trust back into travel. 

So, talk to your travel agent about the hotels, transport methods or destinations which have measures in place to help you to feel comfortable about travelling and open yourself up to trying new ways of travelling or new destinations.


How will travel change in the future?

None of us will ever take travel for granted again so make sure that each part of your trip is perfectly personalised for you and what you want to do. 

It may be that you would prefer room service to a buffet, you want to opt for a more rural destination, or you want a private tour just for your family. Add those ancillaries to your itinerary so you can really make the most of your next trip. I think we all deserve that after so long at home.


How has COVID-19 impacted Sabre’s business?

Sabre is mission critical to the travel ecosystem across the globe and we’re facing the impact of the pandemic alongside our travel partners. 

We’ve revamped our own strategy to ensure we can best serve and enable our clients to recover and grow as we move through this “new normal” together. 

Our vision to create a personalised, interconnected travel marketplace by 2025 remains our focus and we will continue to invest in technological innovation, as demonstrated by our partnerships with Accor and Google.


Will the travel industry recover from this crisis?

There’s no doubt the travel industry is going through the biggest challenge in its history. However, the industry and those who work within it are resilient and have already shown that they can pivot and adapt so travel can happen again.

We’re seeing green shoots in many markets already and there is definitely pent-up demand for travel. What led guest decisions previously may not be what drives them now. 

However, by planning for each stage of recovery and embracing the technological solutions which have a key role to play in enabling and accelerating recovery, the travel industry can combine the trust and innovation needed for future growth.


How do you see the role of travel agents going forward?

The role of the travel agent is likely to grow and develop as we move forward. Travellers who previously booked independently will turn to travel agents for expertise and advice and this will help put the trust back into travel.


This article first appeared in Traveltalk Magazine.  


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Written by: Todd Arthur as told to Traveltalk
Published: 15 August 2020

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