Sabre is a technology solutions provider to the global travel and tourism industry. Sabre offers a broad range of technology solutions including data-driven business intelligence, mobile, distribution and Software as a Service solutions which are used by travel suppliers (airlines, hotels, car rental outlets, railways, cruise lines and tour operators) and travel buyers (travel agencies, travel management companies and corporate travel departments) to plan, market, sell, serve and operate their businesses.
Making Travel Better with Mobile
Sabre has been empowering travel agencies in Asia with online flight reservation solutions, with their products like Sabre WebStart and Sabre TripPlan. With the rise of smartphone adoption in Asia, mobile has dramatically transformed the travel industry and unlocked new opportunities for a better travel experience. Every stage of the travel journey from information search to post-travel activities is increasingly done through mobile apps. Mobile apps that facilitate travel itinerary planning, destination discovery, and hotel and flight bookings, have become an indispensable tool in the travel journey.
As a technology facilitator for travel agencies in Asia, Sabre conceived MobileConnect, a mobile app which can be quickly customised and launched by travel agents as their own private labelled app. The mobile app is a one-stop tool for the traveller to plan for his journey, make hotel bookings and receive guidance and timely reminders for his trip, e.g. packing list, flight info, routes and travel tips. For the travel agents, the MobileConnect platform allows them to provide value added services like travel tips, and to cross sell products to the traveller before and during the journey.
The plan was to first launch an Android app in view of user demographics in Asia market, gather market feedbacks before launching the iOS app.
Developing the Mobile App
As a long term technology partner with Sabre, Forecepts was invited to shape the product together with the appointed product owner from the Sabre team. The visions and objectives of the product was shared with us, and we were given the freedom to define the design and features of this mobile app. We proposed our ideas and brainstormed together with the Sabre team to come out the following key features:
- Trip Planning
Allow travellers to plan their destinations, flights, accommodations and visits to attractions. Estimated costs are calculated according to the travellers’ selected flight and hotels.
- Flight & Hotel Reservations
Allow travellers to book their flights and hotels through the travel agent, and make credit card payments online.
- Trip Assistance & Guidance
Footprint concept to guide the traveller from pre-trip, during-trip to post-trip. It consist of features like reminders, packing list, destination information, maps & routes and travel tips.
- Product Cross Selling
Allow travel agencies to cross sell products offered by partners to the traveller, before and during the trip. Criteria can be configured to target specific customers according to their destinations to achieve better conversion rate.
- Dynamic Settings
Allow travel agents to change the behaviour of the mobile app via agency control panel
We mobilised 4 small teams to develop this product – one team for planning, project management and testing, one team for web application (agency control panel) and web service development, one team for mobile app development, and another team to work on user experience and user interface design.
We employed an agile development approach for this project; the 3 key aspect of functionalities, user experience and performance were reviewed in each iteration. We practised daily build and testing towards the final phase of the project so that each identified issue could be addressed in the shortest timeframe while we worked towards perfecting the mobile app.
Sabre MobileConnect is in its final stage of development and we target to launch this mobile app by the 2nd quarter of 2015.