Sabre brings Sri Lankan travel agencies online as national e-commerce market takes off

Sabre Corporation, a leading technology provider to the global travel industry, is working with travel agencies in Sri Lanka to bring more travel services online for consumers as the Country’s mobile and internet economy takes off. At a recent Sabre technology roadshow event held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, members of Sri Lanka’s travel industry heard about key technology developments that will help them leverage the expanding e-commerce market.

Over 240 delegates from Sri Lanka’s travel industry came together at the Movenpick Hotel in Colombo to hear from Sabre on the latest technologies powering global travel. In 2016 over 300,000 new internet connections were subscribed to in Sri Lanka, increasing the Country’s internet penetration to 30 percent with the total number of internet users now exceeding 6 million.

“Sri Lanka is a high growth market for mobile and Internet adoption, so online shopping presents a major new opportunity for businesses here. Meanwhile national GDP growth and an expanding middle class with more propensity to travel is fuelling a strong outbound tourism market. Brands investing now in marketing and selling their products and services online will be well poised to cash in on this growing travel and e-commerce market in the years ahead,” commented Jeet Sawhney, ‎regional director for South Asia, Sabre Travel Network.

During the roadshow Sabre introduced its WebStart solution, a white label Internet booking engine which allows travel agencies to quickly establish an active online business without the high costs and lengthy web build process typically associated with launching a website.

“Agents using WebStart can service their customers more efficiently through a simple online booking process that combines access to the best available air fares and more than 300,000 hotel properties worldwide – amongst hundreds of other non-air options – with dynamic packaging and extensive cross-selling opportunities. Through a local payment gateway provided by Sampath Bank, travellers can book multiple travel services in one single transaction,” commented Sanjika Perera, Sabre Travel Network Sri Lanka Country Manager.

“By using Sabre’s global Travel Marketplace our agents already have access to the breadth of international travel choices that consumers expect, but the next step forward is to integrate new technologies that let us showcase these options across even more shopping channels, in addition to our brick and mortar stores,” commented Mr. Lawrence Fernando, Managing Director of Lando Travels.

Agents are also adopting Sabre’s TripCase mobile application, a travel itinerary management App designed for travel agents to stay connected with customers on-the-go, through their mobile devices. Mobile adoption in Sri Lanka is high; with around 1.5 million new cellular mobile connections recorded in 2016 alone and the number of mobile broadband connections doubling each year since its introduction in 2009.

“From shopping and booking to mid and post trip support, we expect demand for mobile supported travel services to rise exponentially in the next five to ten years,” said Mr. Pradeep Muthusam, Managing Director of Sharmila Travels & Tours. “As the travel shopping landscape continues to evolve these new technology solutions will allow us to compete – anddifferentiate ourselves – in a more highly-connected landscape.”

In addition to online and mobile platforms, Sabre is introducing powerful data analytics tools to the market that will help travel companies – airlines, hotels and travel agencies – track and manage their customers’ evolving profiles better and create more personalised, relevant, travel experiences. This includes the integration of Google Analytics with Sabre’s WebStart solution to access a complete view of website traffic and conversions.

“We’re effectively giving travel agents the complete package to market and sell travel more effectively: the right platforms – online, the broadest mix of global travel content, but also the market and consumer insights needed to tailor their offering according to the traveller,” concluded Perera.

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