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Google Cloud Becomes Sabre’s ‘Preferred’ Cloud Provider

Jan 31, 2020

Consolidating search giant’s position in the competitive cloud computing market, Sabre, the leading software and technology provider to the global travel industry, has opted for Google Cloud as ‘preferred’ cloud service provider to lead innovation and co-create the future of travel.

The deal comes as a significant win for Alphabet Inc.’s Google when it’s trying to pitch its cloud infrastructure prowess to companies hunting for operational efficiency.

Sabre is a 60-year old corporation that processes over $260 billion worth of annual travel-related purchases around the globe – supporting travel agencies, airlines, hotel chains, and others. The Texas-based firm was first to revolutionize the travel market with a semi-automated flight reservation system and has since become the industry’s largest supplier of data and commerce software solutions.

“As our preferred cloud provider and broader strategic partner, Google Cloud will help to accelerate our digital transformation and ability to create a new marketplace and critical products and systems focused on our customer needs for decades to come,” said Sabre’s President and CEO, Sean Menke.

A Decade Long Association

As a part of the 10-year strategic partnership, the engineers and business leaders on both sides will work together to provide Sabre with advanced support:

  • To meet key digital transformation initiatives;

  • Create and optimize travel options improving loyalty and revenues for customers; and

  • Conceptualize, develop and deploy future capabilities that will advance the travel ecosystem.

In the course, Sabre will migrate its existing IT infrastructure to Google Cloud and use Google Cloud’s Data Analytics tools to power its current and future products. Innovation will form the third main initiative of this union.

“We believe our partnership will deliver more personalized experiences for travelers, saving time and providing greater convenience that will ultimately raise the standard for the travel industry overall,” expressed Thomas Kurian CEO, Google Cloud.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google added, “At Google we build tools to help others, so a big part of our mission is helping other companies realize theirs. Travelers seek convenience, choice and value. Our capabilities in AI and cloud computing will help Sabre deliver more of what consumers want.”

Collaborative Advantage: A Win-Win?

For Google, the move validates trust in its capabilities in the competitive cloud market, where a handful of tech behemoths rent computing space over the internet. The alliance ramps up Google’s position in the ongoing cloud war by linking it to a major technology provider for the travel industry. Sabre is among the three companies, with Spanish Amadeus and British Travelport being the other two, that control over 95% of the Global Distribution Systems market. Their broader strategic partnership further builds conviction in Google’s technological expertise and forte in positioning businesses in the online space.

For Sabre, the promise here is to modernize its legacy systems and improve operational efficiency to tack on services needed by its clients. As individual airlines and hotel chains foray into direct bookings, the partnership will allow Sabre to reinvent itself and reduce customer churn rate through new travel tools and services and creating a new marketplace for its customers.

Although breadth of the stakes involved, and the financial terms are yet to be made public, the alliance could potentially prove to be an ideal match with Google upping its travel portfolio, and Sabre being a mighty data powerhouse encompassing 400 airlines, 225,000 hotel properties, 50 railway carriers, and a few car rentals and cruise lines.

State of Market Share

  • Google is among the leading cloud vendors, with the likes of Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft Azure, however, it holds the least market share. Google’s cloud market is about half of Microsoft’s and a quarter of Amazon’s (Synergy Research Group).

  • Sabre manages over $260 billion global travel spend annually, and leads the Global Distribution Systems (GDS), along with rivals Amadeus and Travelport. Together these three accounts for 95% of the GDS market.

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