Sabre, Internova Launch Booking Solution for New Advisors, ICs

Looking to reduce the time that new-to-industry travel advisors and independent contractors must spend to learn the GDS, Sabre Corporation has launched a new booking solution, Sabre Red Launchpad, through a partnership with Internova Travel Group.

Designed with new and independent travel consultants in mind, Sabre Red Launchpad serves as an extension of Sabre Red 360 and is immediately available to all 5,500 agencies and 70,000 advisors within Internova’s brands—which includes ALTOUR, Global Travel Collection and Travel Leaders Network, among others.

The program, Peter Vlitas, EVP of partner relations at Internova Travel Group, tells Travel Agent, “is the beginning of the journey of NDC and consuming content.”

Sabre Red Launchpad reduces training time advisors and provides a lightweight way for ICs who do not currently use an aggregator or GDS to access the content and capabilities that Sabre provides through its travel marketplace. Sabre Red Launchpad provides users with a streamlined graphical user interface (GUI) that helps them shop and book basic air, hotel and car itineraries with only a few clicks. The product supports NDC offers, low-cost carrier XML content and traditional ATPCO/EDIFACT options, as well as the full breadth of lodging content offered via Sabre’s Content Services for Lodging. If complex servicing needs arise, however, Sabre Red Launchpad users can hand off bookings to a seasoned advisor who can assist with the integrated Sabre Red 360, the company’s existing agency booking solution.

In the months following the launch of Internova’s co-branded version of the product (Internova SNAP, Powered by Sabre), Sabre will roll out Sabre Red Launchpad globally. As part of Internova SNAP, Powered by Sabre, advisors will not only have access to the hotel, air and car services available through Sabre, but Internova’s own hotel, cruise and DMC programs, as well. And should advisors need further assistance, the company has “built an entire support center in order to help [advisors] on some of the more complex issues,” according to Vlitas.

Sabre Red Launchpad air search
Sabre Red Launchpad's air search feature (Photo by Sabre)

He explains: “To recruit talent to our industry, we need modern travel retailing tools that do not require new hires to learn a new language to operate … we’re pleased that SNAP will help our independent agents to benefit from working with technology platforms like Sabre in a way that works for them.”

To that point, Vlitas says many young or new travel consultants previously didn’t want to book air. “They don’t want to touch it because it’s complex, they don’t want to learn a new language,” he tells us.

The “consumer-grade interface,” as Kathy Morgan, VP of product management, distribution experience at Sabre, says, makes it so advisors can simply book these travel services without “having to understand these legacy constructs about workflow perspective.”

According to Jeremy Van Kuyk, chief information officer at Internova Travel Group, the network’s IT and revenue management teams “invested thousands of hours and shared their expertise to propel this project forward.” Use cases included advisors, Internova’s internal team and Sabre. The goal, he says, was “to provide an intuitive tool that doesn’t require a lot of training.”

“This is equivalent to 1994 when Southwest announced their first electronic ticket,” Vlitas tells Travel Agent. “It is the beginning of a roadmap, and I think a lot of people will be energized. I think we’re going to create a whole new set of sellers of travel who will now feel comfortable booking airline tickets.”

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