Global Distribution System Research
The travel marketplace is a global arena where millions of buyers and sellers work together to exchange travel services. Among the “shelves” on which buyers search for travel services are world’s global distribution systems and the Internet distribution systems. These systems have become electronic supermarkets linking buyers to sellers and allowing reservations to be made quickly and easily. Nowadays, more travel is sold over the Internet than any other consumer product. The Internet is a perfect medium for selling travel as it brings a vast network of suppliers and a widely dispersed customer pool together into a centralized market place. Nearly 37 million of America’s more than 162-million active Internet users have already purchased travel online. Online travel bookings exceeded $23 billion in 2001, and are expected to reach $63 billion by 2005.
However, any discussion of the Internet as a distribution channel for travel needs to start with an understanding of the existing electronic distribution infrastructure, the Global Distribution System. The airline industry created the first GDS in the 1960s as a way to keep track of flight schedules, availability, and prices. ( Das, 2002 )
This essay is focused on Sabre Global Distribution System.
For more than 40 years, Sabre has been developing innovations and transforming th business of travel. From the original Sabre computer reservations system in the 1960s, to advanced airline yield management systems in the 1980s, to leading travel web sites today, Sabre technology has traveled through time, around the world, and has touched all points of the travel industry. Sabre, represented in 45 countries, is a leading provider of technology for the travel industry and provides innovative products that enable travel commerce and services, and enhance airline/supplier operations.
Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, Sabre connects more than 60,000 travel agency locations around the world, providing content from approximately 400 airlines, 55,000 hotel properties, 52 car rental companies, 9 cruise lines, 33 railroads, and 229 tour operators. In addition to being one of the leading GDS companies, Sabre also provides abroad range of products and services that enhance travel agency operations and their ability to serve the traveler. ( Das, 2002 )
Sabre-connected travel agencies use Sabre web- based technologies and low-fare finding solutions to create new sales opportunities, drive operational efficiencies, and improve ustomer service. Among the company’s recent innovations is Sabre Virtually There, a personalized web site service that automatically gives travelers up-to-the-minute details about itineraries, while also providing a wealth of information about their destinations.
Sabre owns Travelocity.com, the industry’s leading online consumer travel web site. In 2001, Travelocity.com’s 32 million members used the site, generating more than $300 million in revenues. Travelocity.com offers innovative technologies that help consumers find the best air, car, hotel, and vacation reservations. Sabre also owns Get There, a provider of web-based corporate travel procurement, including the purchase of air, hotel, car, and meeting planning services. Customers include more than 800 leading corporations.
Sabre’s competitive strengths include market position, global reach, stable product line, diversification of revenue streams, and intellectual capital. The Sabre business model is a strong one, and continues to make significant progress in advancing both its electronic travel distribution and its information technology solutions businesses. Revenues have been growing steadily, and the company has embarked on a strategy that fully embraces diversification of its customer base and revenue streams. Sabre is considered to be one of the most significant and competitive GDSs due to the fact that it anticipates and takes advantage of the changes in the information economy and develops innovative practices, leveraging both human resources and technology systems. (Das, 2002 )
On a global scale, the market share of Sabre was 30.8 % ( major systems) in 2002. Sabre is perhaps the oldest and the most prominent GDS in the USA.
The history of the Sabre system began with a chance meeting… American Airlines President C R. Smith and R. Blair Smith, a senior sales representative for IBM, met on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to New York in 1953. Their conversation about the travel industry sparked the idea of a data processing system that would create a complete airline seat reservation and make all the data instantly available electronically to any agent, at any place. Six years later, the airborne exchange of ideas became a reality. American Airlines and IBM jointly announced their plans to develop a Semi-Automatic Business Research Environment — better known as Sabre. The revolutionary system was the first real-time business application of computer technology. It enabled American Airlines to leapfrog from handwritten passenger reservations information in the 1950s to an automated system.
In 1960, the first Sabre® reservations system was installed in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. The mainframe system was state-of-the-art technology and processed 84,000 telephone calls per day. When the network was completed in 1964, it became the largest, private real-time data processing system — second only to the U.S. government’s system. It became an integral part of AMR, saving American Airlines 30 percent on its investments in staff alone.
In 1972, the Sabre system was moved to a new consolidated computer center in Tulsa, Okla., that was designed to house all of American Airlines’ data processing facilities. The Sabre system was installed in a travel agency for the first time in 1976, triggering The wave of travel automation. By 1978, the Sabre system could store 1 million fares. In 1986, Sabre Airline Solutions released the industry’s first revenue management system, helping maximize airline income by optimizing the fare at which each seat is sold. Sabre Airline Solutions also invented the virtual and continuous nesting concepts for revenue management.
The Sabre system was extended to the United Kingdom in 1986, paving the way for widespread international expansion of the system in the next decade. In 1988, Sabre Airline Solutions begins providing software, consulting and systems management services to other airlines in areas such as revenue accounting, yield management and crew scheduling In 1988, the Sabre system expands to store 36 million fares, which can be combined to create more than one billion fare options.
Sabre introduces the Sabre® AirFlite™ flight scheduling system in 1992. In 1994 Sabre and SNCF (French National Railroad) install the RESARAIL™ rail reservations and distribution system for the TGV network. The system is subsequently extended to the English Channel Tunnel.
In 1998, Sabre Airline Solutions completed the largest system migration in the airline industry’s history when 200 US Airways systems were shut down and shifted to Sabre systems. In 1998 Sabre forms a joint venture with ABACUS International to establish the SabreSonic™ passenger solution as the CRS market leader in Asia.
In 2000s Sabre Airline Solutions introduces the Sabre® Aerodynamic Traveler™ passenger processing solutions designed to expedite the airline check-in process and reduce long lines at airports through the use of curbside check-in, roving agents and self- serve kiosks.
The migration of Sabre’s massive air pricing application to HP NonStop™ Himalaya™ server platform was initiated. This technology is designed to migrate airfare pricing, schedules and availability from a proprietary mainframe system to an open system.
The Sabre system was created by American Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines and Singapore Airlines. Airlines using Sabre system include names like US Airways, Aeroflot, American Trans Air, Mid West Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Air Malta, Frontier Airlines, Expedia, Malaysia Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Pakistan International Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Royal Brunei Airlines, EVA Airways and Dragonair to name a few. ( Major Systems )
The products and services offered by Sabre are easy to use, and address all the needs of an Airline, to help them function with increased efficiency, resulting in maximum revenue generation. Solutions provided by Sabre help the Airline to :
Market their services, Sell more tickets through their distribution channels, Serve their customers throughout their travel, and, manage daily operations. ( products and services )
Works cited page
1. Das Samipatra, Global distribution in present times, 2002, retrieved on 28 October 2006
2. History, retrieved on 28 October 2006
Products and Services, retrieved on 28 October 2006
3. Major Systems, 24 September 2006, retrieved on 28 October 2006