Sabre Launching Travel-Industry IT Consulting

FRAMINGHAM (04/28/2000) - Sabre Holdings Corp., which runs a computerized reservations system and the Travelocity.com Web site, next month plans to launch a new technology consulting venture designed to ensure that its e-business partners safely navigate the rocky harbors of the electronic marketplace.

"We want to make sure the people who use Sabre survive because it brings more business to us," said Robert Sites, vice president of e-commerce at Sabre in Fort Worth, Texas. "Part of this is a reaction to the recent tumble in (the price of) tech stocks ... Now, (consumers) are uncertain about who's viable and who isn't."

Recently, Jupiter Communications Inc. and Bear, Stearns & Co. released separate reports predicting that many of the online travel offerings put together by industry newcomers won't be around in five years.

Sites said Sabre plans to build its e-business consulting unit much the same way it did in the bricks-and-mortar world, where it linked up with many of the world's top travel agencies.

Sabre will start with 15 consultants in North America, Europe and Asia who will aid travel-industry companies that are building Web sites and using the Sabre reservations system. The consultants will offer assistance with everything from Web storefront creation to sales to customer fulfillment to back-end accounting, Sikes said.

The group will also make new technologies available to its clients. For example, after a deal announced Wednesday with Lowairfare.com, Sabre now has software that lets online shoppers link to a call-center sales representative to finalize transactions. That means humans can take over to seal deals that started online, Sabre said.

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