Sabre, the global distribution system for reserving hotels, airlines, cruise ships, rail tickets and car hire, has taken the concept of the app store and applied in to its own travel market.
Sabre Travel Network has built what it claims is the world's first B2B application store for the travel industry. Called Sabre Red App Centre, the marketplace has been designed to connect travel buyers, including travel agencies, travel management companies and tour operators, with third-party app providers.
The company says Red Apps can be built using standard programming languages including Java, SWT, Flash/Flex and HTML as well as proprietary Sabre development languages such as Qik and Scribe.
It is based on Sabre Workplace, an Eclipse rich client platform that Sabre says will provide a scalable, secure foundation for integrating applications.
Sabre is providing a Red App Developer Toolkit which will enable existing applications to be converted into Red Apps. The toolkit handles communications with the Sabre system, access to the API and supports centralised deployments to push the app out to individual users.
Certified app providers will have access to the Sabre Red Centre, which includes all the tools and information needed to build Red Apps including the Sabre Red App Developer Toolkit, reference implementations and access to an online developer-collaboration community.
Pravin Muthukumar, business development manager, at Sabre, said, "Developers are vetted before they get access to the toolkit. Through the Red App centre the apps are submitted and certified. Our goal is to ensure security such as validity of digital certificates. The app will be run under different test environments."
Chris Kroeger, senior vice president, marketing for Sabre Travel Network, said, "The new marketplace will provide a new revenue stream for developers, enabling them to grow their businesses, while providing creative and original applications for travel buyers.
"It opens up the possibility to make a process more efficient such as a To Do list, or new business opportunities, such as restaurant reservation."
Sabre expects to develop apps for the marketplace. Travel agents can also develop private apps for their agency network or sell apps to other travel agents. kroeger says there is also an opportunity for highly integrated applications such as a corporate travel capability linking to expense management.
Sabre says apps could be developed that proactively manage travel reservations by sending travel notifications and destination tips to travellers. Sabre also believes apps could be combined with social media such as providing reservations for restaurants, excursion trips or events.
Sabre operates the world's largest global distribution system (GDS), and operates in 60,000 locations in 116 countries to more than 400 airlines, 93,000 hotels, 25 car rental brands, 50 rail providers, and 13 cruise lines.