Sabre Cancels Farelogix Developer Agreement

Sabre Travel Network last month canceled its agreement with "multisource" fare and inventory aggregator Farelogix, a Sabre official confirmed today.

"It became clear to us that they are actually actively encouraging fragmentation and some new economic models that we don't think were balanced, which is fundamentally different from our philosophy on content," said Chris Kroeger, a senior vice president at Sabre Travel Network and president of GetThere, during an interview here this morning at a Society of Government Travel Professionals conference. "It should be aggregated in a way that's balanced between the supply side and the buy side. Because Farelogix wasn't aligned with that philosophy, we decided to terminate. We choose third-party partnerships to be consistent with our philosophies."

Kroeger was reluctant to detail what specific actions Farelogix had taken to fall out of favor, even as the two parties had just signed their latest agreement in August. Farelogix CEO Jim Davidson declined to comment.

Sabre Travel Network of late has taken a more formal approach to other tech firms whose services touch passenger name records in the Sabre global distribution system. A recent deal with Concur meant that Concur is passing to clients a fee for Cliqbook bookings made outside the GDS but whose information is stored in Sabre PNRs. Booking Builder Technologies, on the other hand, does not have an agreement with Sabre for similar services because it opposed the fee.

In the Cliqbook example, Kroeger said, Sabre is satisfied with Concur's commitment to book content within the GDS whenever it is available there. A Concur executive last week said less than 2 percent of bookings are made using inventory that's not in the GDS.

"We provide access to 98 percent or 99 percent of the content they need through the Sabre GDS," said Kroeger. "We think that's pretty convenient for the Concur guys. In such cases where there's content outside the GDS but it is being merged back into Sabre to get the value of being inside the GDS environment, we think there's value and, as such, we put a convenience fee in place for that value. In the big scheme of things, it's really a small number."

While "we have alignment" with Concur, he said, "it became clear" that Farelogix did not support an "overall philosophy" that "fragmented content is not a good thing for the industry. It creates inefficiencies for buyers. That's different from what we thought going into that agreement. With Farelogix, our observations of the dialogue and actions taking place in the marketplace led us to believe there was more fragmentation potentially taking place."

Kroeger said Sabre has spoken with Farelogix users who are Sabre "customers that potentially were impacted. We shared with them the strategic reasons why we took these steps, and have what we think is alignment with them in terms of why we took these steps. We'll continue to work with each of them individually in terms of choice and content to complement the core of the GDS."

American Express Canada and BCD Travel are among users of the Farelogix platform which, according to the company's Web site, "obtains content from virtually any travel data source" including "global distribution systems, direct travel supplier connections, private/corporate fares, Internet fares and consolidators." The system "enables comparative shopping across sources. It also insulates corporations and travel management companies from changing industry dynamics without operational disruption, while providing travel suppliers with huge distribution cost savings."