Skift Take

The startup Techsembly performs a neat trick in letting luxury hotel brands like The Peninsula sell gift cards to boost upsells without creating a downmarket vibe. No wonder it caught Sabre's eye.

Sabre said on Wednesday it had acquired a small startup, Techsembly, which helps luxury hoteliers manage the sales of gift cards, among other cloud-based software services.

The companies didn’t disclose the deal terms or acquisition price. The London-based Techsembly raised about $1.1 million (£1 million) in 2021 from SuperSeed Ventures and a handful of undisclosed private investors.

Sabre, a U.S. travel technology company, plans to integrate the service and team into its SynXis suite of services. Sabre’s central reservation system is one of the most-used in the world for hotels taking reservations online.

Techsembly, led by co-founder and CEO Amy Read, is perhaps best known for helping luxury hotel brands — such as its marquee client The Peninsula — to sell property-specific experiences via global gift cards, which can be redeemed across multiple properties and currencies.

Today Sabre’s “SynXis Retail Studio” lets hotel companies sell products and services as upsells and cross-sells along with room reservations. The company plans to integrate Techsembly’s e-commerce marketplace and gift card capabilities into its platform. The idea is for hoteliers to use just one system to manage e-commerce sales, rather than manage multiple sites via multiple tools.

Scott Wilson, president of Sabre Hospitality, said the acquisition would accelerate his company’s growth in selling software services to hotels. Sabre’s acquisition of Techsembly reaffirms its commitment to its hotel software business, which had seemed shaky during the pandemic.

What does Sabre do?
Sabre is a Texas-based company that provides technology infrastructure for the travel industry globally. It manages approximately $260 billion worth of travel spend annually as of June 2023. Sabre’s services have included collaborations on AI-related features and providing carbon emissions data for flights. However, note that this data does not fully cover the environmental impact of flights, as it excludes the effect of contrails 1.

In addition to its technology services, Sabre has been known to work with travel agencies, such as when it won the business of Flight Centre, a large travel agency based in Australia 2. It’s also worth noting that as of May 2023, Sabre announced a reduction of its workforce by 15% as part of an effort to save $200 million annually and improve its business operations 3 4.
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Tags: ancillaries, ancillary revenue, future of lodging, luxury hotels, mergers and acquisitions, peninsula hotels, sabre, Sabre Hospitality, startups, travel technology, upselling

Photo credit: Exterior of The Peninsula New York, a luxury hotel, which uses services from Techsembly. Photo by Werner Straube. Source: Peninsula Hotels

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