Sabre to offer TripTailor to all agents, rolls out enhancements

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ORLANDO -- Sabre announced at TheTradeShow here that the TripTailor dynamic packaging product that it rolled out to Sabre subscribers in August will be available to all agents, regardless of GDS vendor, sometime in November, accessible via www.triptailor.com.

TripTailor users also will be automatically linked to Sabre's Agent59 product, which affords agents the opportunity to book a client into its last-minute options when the client's trip schedule and itinerary call for it.

TripTailor and Agent59, both travel wholesale businesses operated by Sabre, earn agents commission on client packages. According to TripTailor general manager Dan Westbrook, with TripTailor the pay is 10% on ground and 5% on air (10% through the end of this year); Agent59 commissions are 5%.

Agents can mark up the packages, as well, producing a single, inclusive price seen by the customer.

Westbrook said TripTailor builds on thousands of merchant-rate hotels in destinations around the world -- in secondary as well as major cities; bulk-priced air; net-rate car rentals; plus access to more than 1,700 travel extras, such as transfers, event admissions, sightseeing excursions, dining experiences, ski lift tickets and more.

Sabre also used TheTradeShow here as the occasion to roll out components of its new leisure portal, available through the MySabre desktop and designed to give agents one-stop access to everything they need to sell leisure trips, build tour packages dynamically and manage their customer databases.

Besides TripTailor and Agent59, that portal leads to or soon will fully integrate Sabre Vacations, Sabre Cruises, Sabre Consolidator, the Trams ClientBase Plus database manager, marketing programs, training and support opportunities and a Sabre Rewards Plus point-based loyalty program for frontline agents.

Sabre also announced improvements to its Sabre Air suite, including the addition of a fare management system called Sabre MyFares.

The effect for agents, said Kathryn Hayden, Sabre's senior media relations manager, will be a system that works faster and offers up more choices, in part by better managing the agents' negotiated air fares.

Chris Kroeger, Sabre's senior vice president for North America, said the one-stop leisure portal and MyFares are among the enhancements the company had alluded to as early as June while the vendor was still deeply involved in its negotiations to ensure the major U.S. airlines would provide Sabre with full air content without charging fees of retail travel agents.

With that exercise completed after about nine months, Kroeger said, the vendor and its customers are in effect free to look ahead and focus on things like enhancements to a system that is now assured of some stability.

Every Sabre subscriber also is still assured of at least a 20-cent incentive on a per-segment basis.

Hayden said Sabre wanted to keep some incentive in place because "we believe there is a role for incentives and we didn't want to be dictated to."

Kroeger added that retention of some incentive amount was one of Sabre's key goals when negotiating new contracts with the major U.S. carriers. "There was a lot of discussion of zero [incentives] or of agents paying the vendors [with airline reimbursements], but we wanted to keep some control."

The 20-cent incentive has long been Sabre's lowest incentive level for the smallest producers, which means that, for the smallest agencies, the latest GDS-airline contracts will have no impact.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine Godwin at [email protected].

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