Tech Industry

Sabre online marketplace now boarding

The large computer-based travel reservation company opens the doors for its online business-to-business marketplace to supply products and services to more than 15,000 travel agencies.

Sabre Holdings today opened its online business-to-business marketplace to supply products and services to more than 15,000 travel agencies.

Called Sabre Marketplace, the Web site offers products from companies such as StaplesLink.com, Office Depot, Barnesandnoble.com, iPrint and Flowers Online. Sabre announced the formation of the site in partnership with Ariba in March.

The company has been quietly testing the new service for a little over a month and said it has been popular among travel agencies for items such as office supplies, print services and client gifts. Agencies could save as much as 10 percent to 15 percent on products and services bought through the marketplace, according to Sabre.

The company plans to open the marketplace to small and midsized airlines later this year. In the long term, Sabre will include airports and railroads, as well as a limited number of cruise lines, car rental companies and hotel properties.

The launch follows the company's $757 million deal to buy GetThere, an online marketplace that connects businesses with travel suppliers and leisure services.

In August, the company said it plans to cut roughly 1,200 jobs during the next several months. The move is expected to bring annual savings of $100 million beginning next year.

The online travel industry has been flying high since its inception. Research shows online sales growing exponentially, as Web-based sales in leisure and business travel are expected to reach $28 billion in five years, according to Internet research firm Jupiter Communications.

Fort Worth, Texas-based Sabre, which runs one of the largest computer-based reservation systems for travel agents, owns travel site Travelocity.com. In March, Travelocity completed a $644.9 million merger with rival Preview Travel.

Earlier this month, Sabre acquired Gradient Solutions, a Dublin, Ireland-based company that provides e-commerce products to the travel industry.