Skift Take

We know a few travel agents who have surreptitiously sneaked a peak at some user reviews of hotels on TripAdvisor, but Sabre partnering with TripAdvisor to bring user-generated content about airline seats and amenities to travel agents is bringing things to a whole new level.

Sabre, the travel-tech company that distributes airline information to travel agents, has partnered with TripAdvisor’s SeatGuru to deliver more airline information to travel agents.

Under the agreement, a modified version of the SeatGuru app becomes available to Sabre-connected travel agents and can be integrated into their desktop, known as the Sabre Red Workspace, to provide agents with additional airline seat and amenity information — and reviews submitted by other travel agents, and also travelers.

The SeatGuru app, one of about 150 apps that make up the Sabre Red App Centre, should be a nice add-on resource for travel agents, but there are several ironic elements to this agreement.

SeatGuru states its app “features advice and insights drawn from tens of thousands of passenger reviews,” as well as photos of airline cabins and seats uploaded by passengers.

So travel agents, looking to service their clients, will now get access to this treasure trove of user-generated content even though many travel agents have long disparaged travelers’ reviews, primarily of hotels, because these critiques supposedly were amateurish and beneath the standards of travel agent professionals.

It is also cause for pause, when you think about it, that Sabre, a company that grew up as a division of American Airlines in the 1980s and has historically been airline-centric, had to partner with TripAdvisor’s SeatGuru to get a handle on airline seat information.

(That’s admittedly Monday-morning quarterbacking on my part, but ironic nonetheless.)

Indeed, travel agents using the Sabre desktop are expected to use the SeatGuru information in tandem with the seat maps that were already accessible on the Sabre desktop. But, seat maps don’t provide the kind of detailed information that SeatGuru — and its ragtag band of contributors — can offer.

It is not coincidental that Sabre announced this partnership while the Sabre IPO roadshow is under way as Sabre has been touting itself to potential investors as being ideally positioned as “part of the magical intersection of technology and travel.”

As part of that dynamic, Sabre knew enough to reach out to TripAdvisor and SeatGuru for a little of that magic.

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Tags: airline seats, sabre, seatguru, tripadvisor

Photo credit: Travel agents who use the Sabre desktop will now get access to the SeatGuru app and detailed information about airline seats, including reviews from passengers. SeatGuru

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