Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
They may not be pushing 60 like the majority of travelconference attendees, but that doesn't mean Tom Breitling, 30,and Tim Poster, 31, aren't industry vets. It's been 10years since they turned Poster's University of SouthernCalifornia business class project into Las Vegas ReservationSystems (LVRS), a hotel booking engine for properties based in,yes, Sin City. The crap shoot was transferring their success ontothe Internet. After all, their money, lives and futures were atstake.
Let go of your seat--Travelscape.com Inc., now parent company toLVRS, had gross bookings of $104 million last year--a $77 millionincrease from 1998, when LVRS, once purely a call center,discovered Internet booking. Seeing as how industry forecasters arepredicting online travel to be a $16.6 billion market by 2003, andlast January's official launch of Travelscape.com offeredwholesale hotel-only and air and hotel packages to destinationsworldwide, the growth is no surprise. The time and technologyinvolved were, however.
"Las Vegas isn't like Silicon Valley, where a milliondifferent companies can help you at every corner," saysBreitling, who oversaw everything tech until he and Poster foundoutsourcing help last year from chief technology officer MichelleDecker. Thanks to the partners' 16-hour days aboutsix-and-a-half days a week, Travelscape.com, partner to huge Netportals like EarthLink, MSN's Expedia.com and MapQuest, is onits way to international recognition. The recent additions of itsrental car interface (December 1999) and discount cruise division(last month), along with more hotel and airline accounts as well asa proposed customer loyalty program, should consume the boys'every moment.