FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Sabre (NYSE: TSG) today
announced Virtually There Web site, an innovative personal travel domain that
provides travelers with up-to-the-minute, itinerary and destination
information via the Internet. Harnessing the power of the Sabre system and
Internet technology, the site offers information tailored to individual
traveler preferences and focused on a specific trip already booked through the
Sabre system. Virtually There has the potential to reach 30 million unique
travelers who book reservations through Sabre connected travel agents and
corporate travel offices each year. The Sabre system handles 350 million
bookings per year or nearly 40 percent of all reservations booked through
travel agencies throughout the world.
Once a booking is confirmed through the Sabre system, a secure personal
travel domain is created specifically for the traveler's trip. The custom
site contains the trip itinerary, gate and flight information, and destination
information such as weather and maps. By year-end, the site will provide
access to selected city overviews, which includes information on restaurants,
shopping, events and attractions. By mid-2000, travelers will be able to
create a personal profile, which will customize information and offers to
their areas of interest. For example, by mid-2000 an individual who is
traveling to New York City and has created a Virtually There profile
indicating an interest in the arts could receive information on an opera that
is playing at the Met during his/her trip-stored within an itinerary housed by
all of the details of the trip.
Next year, travelers will receive e-mails from their travel agents
containing text-format itineraries as well as hot links to their Virtually
There personal travel domain, where they can access graphical itineraries and
customized destination information. Additionally, travelers can forward the
itinerary that is housed on the Virtually There Web site to others in need of
the information and download it to a variety of handheld devices. The
itinerary is currently available in three languages -- English, French, and
Spanish -- and is instantly updated with any changes made.
The site, which is password protected to ensure privacy, can be accessed
today at http://www.virtuallythere.sabre.com. To reach their personal site,
travelers would then type in their Sabre reservation number, available from
Sabre connected travel agents, corporate travel offices or via the Sabre
online travel expert, Travelocity.com, and Sabre Business Travel Solutions. A
sample trip is also available for review.
"We're very enthusiastic about this new offering. It not only gives
travelers a convenient and easy way to manage their travel plans, but also
gives travel suppliers new avenues for responding to the needs of their
customers and building loyalty among them," said Eric J. Speck, Sabre
executive vice president for marketing and sales. "We'll continue to take the
pulse of travelers and the travel community to ensure we are meeting their
needs and to identify new applications and services that we can add to
Virtually There to create even greater customer satisfaction."
Another Sabre E-Business
Virtually There is another example of Sabre's ability to incubate new
businesses using its travel industry and technology expertise. Sabre launched
Travelocity.com, the online travel expert, in 1996. Since that time,
Travelocity.com has grown to be one of the leaders in online travel.
Virtually There joins Travelocity.com in the growing suite of Sabre e-business
solutions for travel and transportation.
By reflecting the individual preferences of each traveler, Virtually There
offers a true one-to-one-marketing opportunity for travel-related businesses
-- travel agents, travel suppliers and merchants -- and a potential
marketplace up to 30 million travelers. Virtually There represents a multi-
million dollar business opportunity for Sabre, with a variety of revenue
sources including commissions from online affiliates such as Amazon.com,
travel supplier messages, advertising fees and sponsorship of specific
sections within the itineraries.
According to research conducted for Sabre by Roper Starch Worldwide,
40 percent of leisure travel in the last 12 months was to a new destination.
First-time travelers are prime targets for receiving the content and offerings
made available through Virtually There. The research also concludes that a
large segment of travelers, both business and leisure, have a desire to be
involved in and in touch with their plans. Virtually There responds to those
needs by enabling the traveler to tailor the information they receive and by
providing 24 hour-a-day access to that information via a secure web site.
Key Site Features
When fully functional next year, Virtually There Version 2.0 will provide
one-stop, real-time electronic access to a full complement of information and
*Alternate flight options *Additional language availability
*Personalized content driven *Personalized messages from
by their user profile travel-related vendors integrated
*Destination information with a traveler's itinerary
*Ability to download, in any *Premium membership privileges
format, the destination for first-class services
information including weather, and information
maps and driving directions, *Customized online coupons
to a computer or PDA for discounts from vendors based
at the traveler's origination,
connection and destination points
*Special offers/discounts regularly
*A summary of all trips booked with
Benefits To Travel Agencies and Travel Suppliers
Virtually There is a value-added product for travel agencies and suppliers
providing unique cross-selling opportunities and a means of potentially
increasing their revenue streams. These cross-selling opportunities arise
when a traveler is offered a promotion for a component of travel not already
booked such as a rental car or hotel room.
Sabre connected travel agents will also benefit from the brand identity
garnered from their travel agency logo and marketing messages being
prominently displayed to their customers in both e-mail messages and within
each customer's personal travel domain. In 2000, travel agents will be able
to send customized marketing messages targeted to their customers in order to
stimulate additional bookings.
Another key benefit for travel agencies is Sabre, via Virtually There,
will e-mail itineraries to passengers, upon request, in a format that includes
the agency name, logo, e-mail address and marketing message. This capability
reduces the operational cost associated with printing, faxing, and e-mailing
itineraries. Additionally, this service will increase agency productivity by
minimizing the number of non-booking calls and requests.
Travel suppliers will benefit from point-of-sale opportunities, premium
vendor listings, itinerary sponsorship opportunities and the option to offer
coupons. Merchants will be able to integrate their sites with Virtually
There, reaching nearly 30 million unique travelers as well as 42,000 travel
agencies in 112 countries through the Sabre reservation system.
Sabre is the global leader in applying information technology to meet the
needs of the travel and transportation industries with advanced and innovative
technology skills to deliver progressive solutions. Headquartered in
Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, the company has more than 10,000 employees worldwide
who span 45 countries. Sabre reported 1998 revenues of $2.3 billion, up
29 percent from 1997. Net earnings were $232 million, up 16 percent from the
prior year. More information on Sabre is available on the World Wide Web at
http://www.sabre.com. Sabre and the Sabre logo are registered trademarks of
an affiliate of Sabre Inc.