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‘We are looking at anywhere from 2x to 3x growth in the first year’

Rohinton Commissariat, CEO, Hotel Commerce Solutions, speaks with T3 about Sabre’s new Indian avatar designed for the Indian hospitality sector

What prompted the change in your India portfolio?

Hotel Commerce, just like its earlier avatars Travelocity India and Travelguru, is a representative of Sabre Holdings. Sabre ran two brands in India – Travelocity.co.in and Travelguru, which Travelocity took over three years ago. Another brand Sabre owns is the ten year old Sabre Hospitality Solutions (SHS). Hotel Commerce Solutions will be a separate brand that focuses on this.

Hotel Commerce offers a funnel of services to hotels including marketing, distribution and e-commerce, by way of hand holding, consultation and technology. Hotel Commerce launched with its new name about three months ago and its set up is an ongoing process. We have a strong grip on the market. SHS services 20,000 rooms in India and over 300 hotels, making us market leaders. The brand Hotel Commerce is designed for India. We are looking at other sites in the Indian Ocean piece where our interests lie.

Why was Travelocity.co.in wrapped up?

We had segments where we had our strengths, such as airlines and outbound bookings. However, the overall business dynamics of the OTA industry is such that despite good toplines, few are making operating profits. Lack of a good enough upside in the bottomline led to the parent company rethinking this portal in India.

Travelocity, as a global brand decided that it is not the time to remain in the B2C business in India. They hence sold Travelguru to Yatra and, a few months ago, closed down India’s Travelocity site. The gobal site is still active and available to the Indian market. As part of this reconfiguration we realised that the hospitality services were being neglected. We then launched Hotel Commerce Solutions.

Why choose to launch an India specific brand?

Although we have SHS services, we also clearly understand the India set up and requirements. The level of automation, revenue management, the importance of an online presence etc is all quite different from the developed countries. Apart from Sabre’s solutions, a lot of consulting and hand holding will be different from SHS’s strategy. SEOs, for instance, is very low in Sabre’s scheme of things in other countries, but not here. A lot of services will be built and operated out of here using expertise and inputs from SHS to provide local understanding, flavour and pricing. We therefore felt the need for an identity that is individual.

Will Hotel Commerce work out of a centralised office?

As we go along we will expand with offices within India and in its neighbouring countries. We have a presence in Delhi and will grow our presence into metro cities where our clients are. A lot of work is online so most of the core team is in Mumbai. We have external teams as well working on sites where a higher level of expertise is required. Our focus is to have expertise in the team and give out said expertise as required.

What is the projected growth for Hotel Commerce?

We are wary of giving out figures. However, we are looking at anywhere from 2x to 3x growth in the first year itself. Bear in mind we are not starting at zero. A 200-300 per cent topline growth is expected from this level itself, which is the potential we saw when we entered the market.

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