In the past, Sabre has held individual events for each of its business units. This year, the company decided to fold each of the individual customer events into one larger event. This move away from siloing customers into separate events underlines the company's efforts to eliminate the traditional silos that make it challenging to develop pan-industry technology solutions.
Taking the stage in the first keynote address of the week, Sabre CEO Sean Menke laid out his vision to eliminate silos both across the company and in the travel industry. It was a vision of an industry that works together to deliver the best traveler experience, from targeted offers to a deeper understanding of the traveler's intentions throughout the travel lifecycle.
This vision was duly emphasized in a roundtable with Sabre executives. Clinton Anderson, President of Hospitality Solutions, says that the way the company's teams interact has shifted measurably since he started at the company three years ago:
When I started here, it was very much a holdings company. Now, the walls have been knocked down. It feels like a single company.
A focus on the traveler journey
When it comes to creating solutions that bridge industry (and company) silos, Menke points to the company's focus across the traveler journey. Menke asked the question, "How does travel change with a complete view of You, the traveler?"
The answer involved a theoretically automated disruption management process, with each step of a journey that's been disrupted being rescheduled using only text messsages.
While that vision is far off -- there are so many different parties that have to be tied in to make that happen -- the underlying message was that an intermediary like Sabre is at the center of many of these transactions. This positioning as the backbone of travel could make it a powerful ally in delivering the seamless travel vision that most travelers want.
The company wants to deliver value across each phase of the travel lifecycle, or what the company calls Retailing, Distribution and Fulfillment. These areas correspond to the various products across its business units, reflecting how the company sees its core value propositions throughout.
It seems that the company has gotten serious about shaking off its siloed past as a holding company, and is ready to deliver cross-industry solutions with fewer vertical-specific blinders. Only time will tell how this pans out -- Menke is only 1.5 years into his role at the helm of Sabre, and it's never straightforward for any company to undergo a cultural shift.
The full keynote -- including Menke's view into the changing environment for airlines, travel agencies, hotels, and travelers -- is below.
The writer's travel and hotel were paid by Sabre. Author worked for Sabre from January 2016 to June 2017. Please read more about our ethics policy here.