Demonstrating its full commitment to lead the industry evolution toward next-generation retailing, distribution and fulfillment, Sabre Corporation expects to achieve several critical milestones on its journey to offer NDC-enabled solutions by the end of the year.
Intelligent retailing that leverages Sabre’s data, depth and industry leadership will bring value to airlines and agencies, and customers will have the ability to offer personalized shopping experiences similar to world-class retailers in other industries.
“NDC standards introduce tremendous opportunity for Sabre’s business, our customers and the industry overall – to the ultimate benefit of travelers as we model a new and differentiated travel experience,” said Kathy Morgan, Sabre vice president of strategic initiatives.
“To bring the promise of NDC to life, our capabilities will go beyond shopping and booking and will integrate with the retailing, distribution and fulfillment systems that support the travel ecosystem.”
Morgan leads Sabre’s company-wide effort to invest Beyond NDC across its retailing, distribution and fulfillment solutions. Her team is also looking past the near-term goals of NDC to define the future of intelligent airline retailing in both direct and indirect channels.
Sabre is uniquely positioned to deliver technology that shapes a traveler’s end-to-end journey from offer creation through fulfillment. In 2018, Sabre plans to launch new service-enabled APIs and enhanced capabilities in the Sabre Red Workspace that will allow customers to shop and book NDC content alongside traditional content.
To prepare for this functionality, the company is already working closely with customers including Flight Centre Travel Group, one of the world’s largest travel agency groups, and Sabre expects to begin a pilot program with additional agency and airline customers in the third quarter this year.
As one of the few companies best positioned to deliver an end-to-end NDC solution, Sabre’s “Beyond NDC” initiative extends far beyond the upcoming introduction of its API.
In the fourth quarter Sabre will bring to market the industry’s first Digital Airline Commercial Platform, marking a major advancement in the capabilities airlines will have to seamlessly leverage data-driven insights to dynamically and intelligently market their services, fulfill across all channels, and deliver a personalized customer experience.
More advanced capabilities will follow in 2019, including NDC-enabled offer and order management, giving its airline customers a competitive edge to truly differentiate their offerings.
“We’re currently in discussions with a number of airline and agency customers on an NDC-enabled pilot program,” said Morgan. “The goal is to collaborate with strategic pilot partners on development and integration with our solutions, testing our end-to-end capabilities to process NDC-enabled offers.”
In October last year, CEO Sean Menke publicly outlined Sabre’s position on NDC and the company’s drive to lead an industry evolution. Since then, Sabre achieved NDC Level 3 capability as an I.T. provider in February 2018 and has committed to Level 3 certification as an aggregator in 2018, in order to complement its current airline I.T. capabilities.
“NDC-enabled technology represents a monumental step forward for the travel industry as we modernize retailing and distribution solutions to meet evolving customer expectations,” said Morgan. “The NDC standards are a promising start, but Sabre will innovate beyond NDC to make the promise a reality.”
MEANWHILE, Sabre Corporation has announced a long-term strategic agreement with Microsoft, accelerating its strategy to reimagine the business of travel.
As part of this new agreement, Microsoft will empower the migration of Sabre’s commercial applications to Microsoft Azure by investing cloud development expertise and services in support of Sabre’s vision to lead an industry evolution in retailing, distribution and fulfillment.
Together the two companies will work to help Sabre better harness the power of its data and apply artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to create new services for hotel, agency and airline customers.
Sabre technology processes over $120 billion of estimated travel spend each year, and every minute Sabre systems serve thousands of travel agents, board thousands of passengers, and process hundreds of bookings.
Sabre and Microsoft partnered earlier this year on the pilot launch of an A.I.-powered chatbot, “Ella,” that explores how artificial intelligence can help travel agencies better serve travelers by fulfilling their most common service and support requests with smart technology.