“Don’t ignore travel agents!” declared Hamish Broom, managing director of airline distribution for the EMEA division of Sabre Travel Network.
“Low cost carriers have to have a balanced strategy of where they distribute – to have a single isolated approach will be to their ultimate detriment,” he said in an address to the Low Cost Airlines Conference in Dubai last month.
Direct and indirect strategies were both vital, as substantiated by research carried out by Sabre Travel Network. This revealed that about 70 per cent of all leisure travel was booked through direct channels (i.e websites), and although this may seem good news for low cost carriers, about 90 per cent of business travel is still booked through travel agencies.
“If they (low cost carriers) are going to rely totally on their website they are going to miss out on getting high-yielding business travellers and also are going to be missing out against their competitors who may have made the decision to distribute both indirectly and directly.
“Another thing that our research has shown is that the bargain hunter and the premium paying passenger is ironically the same person – it is the reason for travel that dictates where you buy and how much you are prepared to pay.”
Sabre Travel Network, a Sabre Holdings company, provides numerous solutions to the industry for corporate and leisure travel. The Sabre GDS is the foundation for these solutions, providing a ready-built system that connects travel suppliers, airlines and hotels, with more than 50,000 travel agency locations.
Key brands of the company include the GetThere online corporate travel booking tool and the TRAMS mid- and back-office solution and marketing service for travel agencies.
Sabre Travel Network works with sister company Sabre Airline Solutions, a large provider of products to help airlines to operate more effectively, from planning to execution.
The combined portfolio of marketing, sales, distribution, operational and decision-support technology is unique, and of huge value to airlines all over the world.
By Cheryl Mandy
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.