Sabre Labs has announced its 2018 Emerging Technology Report, examining the roles of automation, authenticity and the blockchain in the evolving travel technology landscape over the next decade.

Sabre Labs is dedicated to exploring trends and technologies that will define the future of travel. This means doing research, building prototypes, and basically everything that will make travel easier. Watch the video below to see what Sabre Labs is all about:

“Increasingly, people are coming to understand that the travel business is really a technology business,” said Philip Likens, director of Sabre Labs. “Even the simplest journey generates huge amounts of data. Collecting, indexing and understanding that data – and how we apply that understanding to improve every traveller’s experience – is what will drive real innovation across the entire travel ecosystem.”

“The travel business is really a technology business”

“Whether it is A.I. and machine learning to automate and optimize tasks, the counter-intuitive ability to deliver authentic experiences digitally, or using new protocols (such as distributed ledgers) so a traveller can head to the airport and leave their wallet and ID at home – on purpose – tech is going to reshape the travel experience.”

This year, the report evaluates automation, authenticity, and blockchain as the three most important areas for consideration.


Automation is not a new idea. However, advancements in A.I. and machine learning offer the potential for changes in how we may be served in our digital environment. Awareness and cognitive capacity for machines suggest a huge range of opportunities for those in the travel space to completely rethink when and what to sell, how to staff and operate their businesses, and how to anticipate and exceed their own customers’ needs.


In our current age, trust is in low supply – so authenticity and authentic experiences are more valuable than ever. At the same time, businesses increasingly need to rely on technology and digitisation to interact with their customers.

Travel is about physical presence, and digital tools are offering new ways to engage travellers to provide richer, more personalised experiences.


High volatility in the price of cryptocurrencies has been dominating headlines and it overshadows the value underlying in blockchain technology.

Separating crypto-hype from the actual potential of distributed ledger technology – which enables secure, “trustless” transactions to take place – can be hard to do. But there is significant promise for blockchain as it relates to travel, not the least of which is this: imagine heading off on a round-the-world trip without having to bring your passport or wallet.

“This report explores how technology can mediate and enhance these interactions – and ultimately make the journey better for everyone”

Likens concluded: “Tomorrow’s travellers have a set of expectations fueled by ubiquitous access to information, smooth transactional experiences, and increasingly personalized offers. There is a tremendous opportunity for companies to begin thinking about how their brand can be agile enough to meaningfully interact with tomorrow’s travellers. This report explores how technology can mediate and enhance these interactions – and ultimately make the journey better for everyone.”


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