Reservation Center and Hickory Travel Sign Deal

Reservation Center, Inc. (RCI) and Hickory Travel Systems, Inc.’s Call Center Services, two of the travel industry’s leading providers of 24-hour and emergency call center assistance, announced a joint venture that will merge their respective call centers into a single, new entity, TRAVEL FULFILLMENT INTERNATIONAL.

RCI (operated by CCRA Travel Solutions) and Hickory Travel Systems have each been in the travel call center business for over 30 years, giving the new organization a solid foundation in all aspects of travel call center management, said  Dic Marxen, president and CEO of CCRA Travel Solutions, the parent company of Reservation Center, “This new venture allows us to implement the best practices from each organization without compromising the quality of service we currently provide our travel agency clients.”

Bill Chiles, chairman and CEO of Hickory, added, “Blending the two call centers ensures that TFI will provide the best, most responsive travel support in the industry.”

While the organizations’ two call centers will merge, both Chiles and Marxen hastened to add that CCRA Travel Solutions and Hickory Travel Systems will remain independent companies.

“Hickory and CCRA each offer a unique value proposition as marketing and distribution channels for the travel industry. Both companies will continue to implement their own strategic initiatives,” Chiles said.

Added Marxen, “The spinoff of call center operations to a separate entity means both companies can more effectively refocus resources on our respective marketing and distribution efforts, which will include the pursuit and acquisition of additional call center customers for TFI.”

With over 500 travel agency accounts worldwide, TRAVEL FULFILLMENT INTERNATIONAL (TFI) is positioned to operate not only as the industry’s leading provider of 24-hour call center services and emergency travel assistance, but also to become a multi-faceted travel fulfillment organization. The new company will aggressively pursue both strategic acquisitions as well as new opportunities in travel technology and fulfillment.

“TRAVEL FULFILLMENT INTERNATIONAL will have the experience and the resources to exploit current and future advances in technology, telephony and service, and to do so on a global basis,” Chiles said.

Marxen said: “With the creation of TRAVEL FULFILLMENT INTERNATIONAL, we open ourselves to a world of possibilities as a multi-faceted fulfillment center. TFI is one of the few companies in the travel industry currently capable of making the investment and with the necessary vision to pursue such opportunities.”

The new TFI call center will be fully operational by February 1, 2010. Marxen has been named chairman of the new venture, and Chiles will serve as its president. TRAVEL FULFILLMENT INTERNATIONAL will be headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.

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