They may not be pushing 60 like the majority of travel conference attendees, but that doesn't mean Tom Breitling, 30, and Tim Poster, 31, aren't industry vets. It's been 10 years since they turned Poster's University of Southern California business class project into Las Vegas Reservation Systems (LVRS), a hotel booking engine for properties based in, yes, Sin City. The crap shoot was transferring their success onto the Internet. After all, their money, lives and futures were at stake.
Let go of your seat--Travelscape.com Inc., now parent company to LVRS, had gross bookings of $104 million last year--a $77 million increase from 1998, when LVRS, once purely a call center, discovered Internet booking. Seeing as how industry forecasters are predicting online travel to be a $16.6 billion market by 2003, and last January's official launch of Travelscape.com offered wholesale hotel-only and air and hotel packages to destinations worldwide, the growth is no surprise. The time and technology involved were, however.
"Las Vegas isn't like Silicon Valley, where a million different companies can help you at every corner," says Breitling, who oversaw everything tech until he and Poster found outsourcing help last year from chief technology officer Michelle Decker. Thanks to the partners' 16-hour days about six-and-a-half days a week, Travelscape.com, partner to huge Net portals like EarthLink, MSN's Expedia.com and MapQuest, is on its way to international recognition. The recent additions of its rental car interface (December 1999) and discount cruise division (last month), along with more hotel and airline accounts as well as a proposed customer loyalty program, should consume the boys' every moment.