Global airline technology giant Sabre has launched a seat upgrade bidding system using Artificial Intelligence to intelligently optimise pricing and availability.
Upgrade IQ will work with any Passenger Services System (PSS) and has been developed in partnership with leading search engine Google and Hopper, which has developed the user bidding experience.
Sabre says the new technology will help airlines “generate incremental and diversified revenue by optimising the available inventory in their premium cabins, while elevating and streamlining the customer experience”.
Travellers will be able to bid for a seat upgrade at any stage pre-travel, with when booking, at check-in, or in the airline’s mobile app or via email communication.
Upgrade IQ dynamically prices upgrade offers, recommending the minimum and maximum proposed bid values along with the starting price for the bid.
During beta testing, Sabre said Upgrade IQ delivered up to 20% uplift in incremental upgrade revenue by filling empty seats in premium cabins.
As well as incorporating Google AI expertise, Upgrade IQ uses Hopper’s bidding platform which facilitates the process and enables airlines to communicate with travellers in multiple languages and in-real time.
Garry Wiseman, chief product officer at Sabre Travel Solutions, said: “Sabre’s latest AI solution is a testament to the power of strategic partnerships in driving innovation and speed-to-market.
“By collaborating with Google and Hopper on some of the core technical capabilities, we have delivered a modern retailing solution to help airlines better manage seat upgrades and create differentiated customer experiences.
“We are thrilled with the positive response we’re receiving from airline customers who clearly understand how our Retail Intelligence solutions like Upgrade IQ can help drive increased revenue along with a better experience for travellers.”
Sabre said Upgrade IQ streamlines the management of seat upgrades for airlines with an “intuitive and automated interface that can automatically accept traveller bids, change the flight itinerary cabins, re-issue and revalidate the tickets, process payments and send receipts and confirmation information to the traveller”.
It also supports instant upgrades, where the traveller chooses to pay full price for a guaranteed upgrade.