Think of Sabre Holdings as a data company, CEO says

Posted Thursday, Dec. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Don’t just think travel when it comes to Sabre Holdings, the Southlake-based company that has long served airlines and hotels. Think Big Data, CEO Tom Klein says.

Klein told a Dallas audience Thursday that the company handles about 85,000 data transactions every second for customers, including users of the Travelocity reservations website. Collecting, analyzing and interpreting that data to help the 70 airlines that Sabre does business with and the 100,000 hotels in its reservations system will keep Sabre’s services relevant, he said.

Klein made his comments at the Dallas Regional Chamber’s annual State of Technology luncheon. He was named Sabre’s CEO in August and has been with the company since 1994.

Klein said companies that leverage masses of data are driving markets today, citing the case of Uber, the 4-year-old transportation-on-demand service that connects riders and drivers without a traditional taxi-dispatching center.

“Their secret sauce is going to be data” and analyzing supply-and-demand information to improve service, Klein said.

Uber and Sabre share an investor, TPG Capital, which has a Fort Worth office.

Sabre can operate similarly, he said, citing its reservations service In London, for example, travelers who start looking after 5 p.m. for a hotel generally won’t pay more than about 100 pounds. So advising hoteliers to cap their offerings at 120 pounds boosted their bookings.

Sabre’s new app, TripCase, connects travelers and travel providers to allow alerts and updates on schedules and timely information, he said.

Sabre is not so much looking at adding discrete data services as integrating them. “Data is embedded in everything we do,” he said.

After the talk, Klein told the Star-Telegram that Travelocity and its familiar gnome will remain active and will improve. Sabre recently agreed to let competitor Expedia handle most of its operations.

Jim Fuquay, 817-390-7552 Twitter: @jimfuquay

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