Sabre Travel Network announced the acquisition of Los
Angeles-based TRAMS, a leading mid- and back-office solutions
provider. According to the announcement, the acquisition “enables
Sabre to directly serve the end-to-end needs from front- to mid- to
back-office, along with unique marketing capabilities for a broad
spectrum of travel agencies.”
TRAMS’ products, including ClientBase Plus with Live Connect,
Marketing Advantage and Back Office, are used at over 11,000 agency
locations, and ASTA reports that more than 80 percent of its
members use the back-office solution, the companies said.
“Up front, there will be absolutely no change to the customer
whatsoever,” said Lee Rosen, founder and president of TRAMS, in an
exclusive interview with TravelAge West. “Over time ... there may
be some integration opportunities ... because they add a lot of
value to each of the pieces.”
Under terms of the acquisition Rosen will still retain his title
and the TRAMS’ offices will remain in Los Angeles. Also, TRAMS’
current supplier partnerships will remain unchanged.
Trams’ Live Connect solution enables agencies to book Web-based
inventory, from tour operators, airlines, consolidators, cruise
lines and insurance suppliers, and integrate them with passenger
name records in Sabre, Galileo, Amadeus, Worldspan, G2 SwitchWorks
and other systems. The client data then can be used for accounting,
to run reports and for marketing purposes.
In other news last week, Sabre announced it signed a long-term
GDS subscriber agreement with Priceline.com.
With the Priceline deal, Sabre now has relationships with three
of the four top online agencies in the U.S. In addition,
Travelocity’s recently acquired lastminute.com, one of the leading
online sites in Europe, has announced plans to begin moving its
bookings to the Sabre GDS.
More Ahead for Suntrips
Two travel agencies sued SunTrips and its parent corporation,
seeking restitution of unpaid commissions on behalf of all agencies
and to stop the sale of the tour business until agency commissions
The plaintiff agencies are Community World Travel of Denver and
Four Winds Travel of Carmel, Calif. Four Winds owner Daniel Presser
is an ARTA board member. Defendants are SunTrips, based in San
Jose, Calif., and its owner OneTravel Holdings.
The class action was filed in California Superior Court after
OneTravel announced it had agreed to sell SunTrips to Crystal
Attorney for the plaintiffs, Al Anolik, said millions in
commissions are due, and he said the plaintiffs seek to block the
sale of SunTrips because the terms of that sale to Crystal, while
itemizing various debt obligations, make no mention of the large
outstanding debt to the trade.
Anolik said the court has set a March 14 date for a hearing on
his request for a preliminary injunction to prohibit OneTravel from
transferring any SunTrips assets to another party. The proposed
injunction would also require the defendants to “account for and
hold in trust amounts received in connection with the sale of
SunTrips,” according to court documents.
The plaintiffs alleged in court filings that SunTrips has failed
to pay agency commissions for at least the past year despite the
continued publication of commission rates on its Web site. The
plaintiffs accused SunTrips and its parent of fraud because it
misrepresented its intentions; the plaintiffs demanded full
restitution plus damages.
Victor Bao, president and CEO of Valorem Group North America,
speaking to TAW before the suit was filed, said: “We’re not sure
exactly what happened over the past year. But Crystal Hospitality
is going to pay 100 percent of the commissions and start paying
Miami-based Valorem a hotel representation, communications and
marketing firm of international hospitality clients in the U.S.
market created Crystal Hospitality Holdings for the purpose of
Bao also said that plans call for SunTrips to be repositioned by
changing the mix of hotels offered; adding a few gateways; possibly
adding a company office in Florida; and adding more destinations,
including possibly Panama.
Overall, however, Bao said that much about the tour operator
will remain the same, including the company’s name and
“A lot of time with travel agents is what we’re really looking
forward to,” Bao added.
For the past few months, travel agents have been contacting TAW
reporting that SunTrips has continued to delay payments on agent
commissions and that hotels have refused or canceled SunTrips’
‘Two Nation Vacation’ Show in Seattle
Hosted by the Victoria Clipper and Clipper Vacations, the 19th
Annual “Two Nation Vacation” Travel Show will be held in Seattle on
Thurs., March 9, from 5-7:30 p.m., at the Bell Harbor Conference
Center at Pier 66.
Attending travel agents will be introduced to new Clipper
Vacations and Clipper Incentives products, as well as information
about the highlights of the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada.
Over 75 suppliers representing hotels, attractions and
transportation carriers in Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver Island, San
Juan Islands, Alberta, Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies will be
A pre-show seminar featuring speakers discussing pre/post Alaska
cruise packages and other regional tour products will be held from
4-5 p.m. Space is limited to 50 people for the seminar, and RSVPs
ASTA’S Prague Expo On Track
Plans are continuing for the American Society of Travel Agents
(ASTA) first annual International Destination Expo, in partnership
with the Czech Republic government and CzechTourism, to be held in
Prague March 21-26.
More than 1,000 travel agents will meet to attend seminars,
explore the region and become Central European specialists.
Pleasant Training Approved
Pleasant Holidays’ Internet Training Program for Pleasant
Agent.com was recently approved by The Travel Institute to provide
up to two Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to Certified Travel
Industry Executives (CTIEs), Certified Travel Counselors (CTCs) and
Certified Travel Associates (CTAs) who complete the course. Travel
professionals who have earned CTIE, CTC and CTA certifications
through The Travel Institute are required to earn 10 CEUs annually
to maintain their designations.
The accredited Pleasant Holidays program instructs travel agents
on Pleasant Holidays exclusive travel agent Web site at
PleasantAgent.com, as well as on destination content, downloadable
sales tools and other information.
Pleasant Holidays will begin posting training site locations and
courses on PleasantAgent.com within a few weeks.
The Association of Travel Agents of America (ATAA) has announced
its 2006 lineup of education events. The lineup includes
ATAA-hosted events and ATAA sponsorships at events held by other
March 10: Selling Luxury Travel with Bruce Tepper
Location: Hilton at the Phoenix Airport
March 11: Selling Luxury Travel with Bruce Tepper
Location: Los Angeles, Calif.
April 18-20: TRAMS TMU
Location: MGM Grand, Las Vegas
Late April through early June: Webinar series with Select
July 14-16: Annual Nuts & Bolts Conference
Location: Starr Pass Resort, Tucson, Ariz.
Sept. 9: The Travel Institute National Forum
Location: Orlando, Fla.
Sept. 4-9: ATAA Seminar at Sea
Location: Carnival Victory New York to Canada/New England
Dec. 1: ATAA Annual Meeting & Holiday Celebration