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When can you expect even more nickel-and-diming?

Sabre Corporation touts it is the global leader in best fare flight search options. They claim they outperform the competition and deliver the lowest fares with a large selection of attractive flight options.

Their claim is based on “a wide-scale qualitative and quantitative competitive global distribution system (GDS) study conducted across 18 countries by Dr. Fried & Partner, a leading marketing and consulting firm.” It was paid for by Sabre, so it is a typical case of selfpraise.

We did not find any ranking of marketing and consulting firms that includes Dr. Fried & Partner, a German firm. Their website lists 4 publications in English (from 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2015). However, 2 of them are actually in German, only the titles are in English. It is considerably less than we would expect from a “leading marketing and consulting firm.”

According to the report Sabre surpasses its competitors in all regions, finding the lowest fare 10% more often than Amadeus and 7% more often than Travelport, on average. All 3 work with airlines and travel agencies, not with individual travelers and consumers.

Dr. Fried & Partner found that business and leisure travelers have different expectations on price and ancillary content. The firm also found that important factors to business travelers are short travel duration, airline brand, amenities like more legroom, priority boarding and lounge access as well as fares that deliver convenience and flexibility within the confines of their corporate travel policies.

Leisure travelers have other considerations like price, baggage included and flexibility when it comes to travel dates or destination. Refundable tickets or factors like shorter travel durations are less important to them. We would not need a “leading marketing and consulting firm” to learn this because none of these findings is new to us.

The finding that airlines continue to unbundle their offers and provide a wider range of branded fares and ancillaries is not new to us either. However, the finding that travelers appreciate individual services and amenities more than when they were simply included in the ticket price is new to us as our readers tell us the opposite. It seems a typical case of writing what the client wants to read.

According to Dr. Fried & Partner their research suggests that branded fares and ancillaries offer a significant opportunity for differentiation to travel agents. "This changing landscape will benefit travel agents as well as airlines," says Jones. "Sabre is dedicated to helping airlines merchandise and distribute their content.”

Thus, passengers who book at a travel agent or carrier that uses Sabre can expect even more nickel-and-diming than they already experience.

Tags: nickel-and-diming, ancillary costs, Sabre Corporation

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