Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR), the leading technology provider to the global travel industry, hosted airline representatives from around Asia Pacific in Vietnam to learn about current travel trends, challenges and opportunities facing the airline industry.
APAC is expected to account for up to half of total annual increase in air traffic by 2020[i] and routes to, from and within Asia Pacific are projected to see an extra 1.8 billion annual passengers by 2034. In relative terms the region is expected to account for 42 percent of global passenger traffic[ii].
“The airline industry was more profitable in 2015 than it has been for almost five decades and reduced operating costs due to declines in oil prices alongside continued growth in passenger numbers make the immediate outlook rosy. However the challenge that lies ahead for airlines is sustaining these higher profits against an uncertain macroeconomic and geopolitical backdrop,” commented Chris Wilding, senior vice president for Supplier Commerce, Sabre Travel Network.
Topics presented during the conference ranged from new airline merchandising opportunities and technology innovations helping capture deeper data insights to adapting to rapidly evolving traveller demands.
“All travel companies, from airlines to agents, are faced with one unifying challenge today: changing traveller expectations. Speed, choice, flexibility, personalisation – today’s highly connected mobile traveller is more discerning in their approach to travel, and is demanding an enhanced end-to-end experience,” added Hans Belle, vice president for Supplier Commerce and Strategic Partnerships, Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific. “If we go beyond keeping-pace-with to truly shaping the traveller experience of tomorrow, then we’re onto something. And that’s what we’re one hundred percent focused on doing for our customers today.”
Sabre APAC Airline Conference Highlights: In Pictures
Chris Wilding, senior vice president for Supplier Commerce, Sabre Travel Network, opened the conference with a forecast on key industry trends and new opportunities that Sabre is keeping a close eye on, from consolidation and booking channel shifts to data and mobility.
Enhancing the traveller experience was a running theme throughout – paired against the opportunity to deliver expanded merchandising capabilities unlocking new revenue channels for airlines as they target the future traveller.
(From left) Chris Wilding, senior vice president for Supplier Commerce, Sabre Travel Network; Hans Belle, vice president for Supplier Commerce and Strategic Partnerships, Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific; Arumuga Jothi, Assistant Manager, GDS Management, Commercial Systems at Malaysia Airlines; Timothy Tan, Global Accounts Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific; Abdul Razak, Manager, GDS Management at Malaysia Airlines; Ida Marsita Hidup, Manager Inventory System & Distribution at Royal Brunei Airlines.
Airlines from over ten different countries attended to learn about key challenges and opportunities in Asia Pacific, including ancillary revenue growth – projected to reach almost US$60 billion last year, representing an increase of 163 percent since 2010.
Airlines today rely heavily on ancillary sales and for some these generate 40 percent of their income. 60 percent of hotels are already seeing ancillaries contributing 10 percent to total revenue. For airlines, the benefits of using Sabre’s retailing and merchandising technology could unlock US$130 billion in additional revenues by 2020.
(Left) Mark Rizzuto, General Manager Distribution & e-Commerce at Virgin Australia and Seth Anagnostis, Product Specialist, Routehappy; (right) David Sandberg, Senior Advisor, Strategy, Routehappy discussing flight shopping and opportunities for content differentiation.
A key component to effective airline merchandising is differentiation. Routehappy is working with Sabre to help airlines differentiate and better monetise their products in the agency and corporate travel sales channel via Routehappy Hub, a comprehensive content platform available in Sabre Red Workspace.
Adapting for today’s corporate traveller, a key customer segment, was also a hot topic. Corporate travel spending in the Asia Pacific region totaled $459 billion in 2014 and is projected for annual growth of almost eight percent in the next five years. Already the largest business travel market, APAC will likely continue to play a critical role in the near future, reaching 42.5 percent market share by 2019[iii].
Timothy Tan, Global Accounts, Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific, closes off the conference with predictions on the top corporate travel trends in 2016 – including ‘The Growth of Premium Economy’, set to attract a loyal corporate following, ‘Tighter Control on Secondary Expenses’, such as ancillary services, and ‘Mobile Itinerary Management Apps Going Mainstream’.