Report From the TRAMS Conference

LAS VEGAS—Expedia featured prominently in the opening address that Lee Rosen, president and founder of TRAMS, a provider of mid- and back-office solutions, gave at the 11th annual TRAMS conference in Las Vegas last week.

Speaking to a room full of travel agents and suppliers, Rosen compared the web-based company to the offline travel trade. "We have relations with our clients that Expedia doesn't have, but Expedia's value is 13 times greater," he said, after explaining exactly how much Expedia's annual revenues surpass that of the traditional agency. The reason, he said, is because online agencies like Expedia have access to what he called "database central," which equals buying power, marketing ability and detailed reporting and analysis.

Rosen assured the room that could change if traditional agencies accept a similar technological model. "By outsourcing some functionality like Expedia does with database central, it will allow groups of agencies to function better than one large one," he said. "Through database central we get centralized campaigns, buying power and discover what is working and what's not working."

Rooms were full for seminars focused on making an agent's day-to-day tasks easier to manage through the use of products distributed by TRAMS and Sabre, which acquired TRAMS a little over a year ago.