Sabre Adds More Online Travel Capabilities

BOSTON (05/09/2000) - In yet another agreement with an online venture, Sabre Holdings Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas, is adding Internet-based capabilities for booking corporate conferences to its worldwide travel reservations system.

Sabre Business Travel Solutions today announced a deal with Sausalito, California-based EventSource.com Inc., under which the latter company's online conference-booking technology will be linked with Sabre's reservations system.

Sabre also said it's taking an equity stake of undisclosed proportions in EventSource.com.

As part of the deal, Sabre will get access to EventSource.com's database of 12,000 meeting and hotel sites, which allows corporate travelers to gain preferred rates on airlines and hotels for specific conferences.

The agreement continues what has become a trend for Sabre. Last month, it struck a nonequity deal with Tampa, Florida-based Lowairfare.com to gain technology that links Web customers to a live sales call center via a chatbox.

Agreements with Atlanta-based FlightServ.com to provide individual seats on chartered private jets and with Burlington, Massachusetts-based Logistics.com Inc. to provide scheduling and procurement for the refrigerated trucking industry have also been announced by Sabre in recent months.

"We decided there are folks out there that are better in some of the niche parts (of the travel industry) than we are, and let's be smart about it and build relationships with those people," said Scott Smith, general manager of the Business Travel Solutions unit at Sabre.

Time to market is critical, Smith said, and Sabre has decided it will spend cash to stay ahead of its rivals instead of waiting to develop its own products in-house. For example, Sabre plans to offer the EventSource.com technology throughout its corporate travel line, he said.

Jeffrey Osborn, a travel industry analyst with Science Applications International Corp. in Peachtree City, Georgia, called the Sabre/EventSource.com agreement a positive move for both companies.

EventSource.com., which was launched two years ago, gets the benefit of the Sabre brand name, and the Fort Worth, Texas-based travel giant gets to add another facet to its offering for business customers, Osborn said.

"This lets (Sabre) gain momentum in a space where they might not have been able to concentrate their resources," Osborn said. ""Right now, Sabre's the elephant everybody's shooting at (in the travel industry). They're out front for a reason."

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