Sabre holdings: the great community race

On March 29 I attended Sabre’s presentation at Blogwell in NYC.
a presentation by Susan Via, Manager Community Marketing and Engagement & Lorie Robinson, Product Marketing, Sabre holdings
Sabre is a major player in the airline reservation industry. Passenger reservations, cruise schedules etc. Some years ago, Sabre went on to embark on a community programme. There is a Sabre community portal, password-protected and a hub, which is Sabre’s Facebook-like business networking portal. The hub is a tool that Sabre’s customers had asked for. The objective was to increase employee engagement to improve customer experience. Yet, some of the engagement they got from employees was not always up to scratch.
This is why Sabre took a step back and launched the Great Community Race! The races stretched over a period of 3 months.  A minimum of 3 tasks were assigned to each team. Bonus points were granted and at the end a judge awarded prizes. The aim was to get over the “I don’t have time to do that” syndrome.
The result was pleasantly surprising. Some teams had given themselves  names, and the sense of competition and camaraderie was high. 4 awards were granted: 1) highest cumulative score 2) product suite with highest score 3) team with high score (not highest) but consistent approach 4) teams new to community
The result is seen by the team as an overall success:

  • 23 teams fully engaged
  • above 3,000 portal content items published and created
  • average blog posts/ month up 573%
  • portal accounts increased by 7%
  • hub accounts increased 9%

Lessons learned

  • having fun is useful in that process
  • so is Executive involvement
  • assigned tasks was appreciated
  • Sabre thinks they should have done this even earlier
  • it’s not a one-for-one return (“because we engage more doesn’t mean customers will”)

some of the next steps include:

  • community certification programme
  • strengthening of community interaction to increase sales’ understanding and participation
  • develop detailed external social media plan in order to decide how to best use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other tools.
  • the race ended recently, and the Sabre team wishes to move forward with was is going to be next.
Yann Gourvennec
Follow me