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• Mark Worldspan SPEAKER……AV interference…… loyalty network efforts that go on, on a constant basis, and what we did essentially for this organization 24K Gold Points, is we put 24K, this site, this organization together with Gold Point, so we are now one organization and together our task is to be a world leader in clicks and mortar where people can earn points for online purchases, points after participating offline locations. So real simply you can go and purchase, go and …….somebody said they couldn’t hear…… you can go out and book on 24K, let’s say at Radison, which would make us all very happy and you can go earn points for that particular, for that transaction on 24K, then you can go to Radison and actually earn points from the Radison hotel, so you can double and triple dip. So that is kind of the premise of what we are doing. And again, let’s talk specifically about 24K. It was really, looking back on it, the executive management within Carlson Companies wanted to put something together that would be an electronic presence and it really is 24K is really the flagship of the Carlson Electronic Properties and we were taught, asked by Carlson Executive Management to build a reach-out to the consumers and it really kind of co-lists the brands. And the brands is a pretty strong message to you because we use 24K, or we needed, in developing 24K, we needed to make sure that we were able to reach out to the other brands, when possible use their buying power, use their knowledge and obviously it is the focal point in 24K Goldpoints which we talked about. It really…. What did they ask us to do? They asked us to design, to enhance, facilitate and simplify consumers leisure life. So, I didn’t say that very well, but really what 24K is, is it is Web portal designed to enable your leisure life, so you can go out and you can purchase travel, you can get entertainment information and entertainment options, you can do shopping and we need to incorporate all this into what we were developing and I know I am going kind of fast, I apologize, I think we should have time for questions afterwards and if you guys need clarification as I go along, don’t hesitate to ask. So, 24K Travel, what does that encompass? Obviously air, car and hotel, we do have travel package capabilities; we have the destination information and all of the content needs that you would find throughout the industry. We are also moving forward the things that we needed taken into account. Where we needed to go was, we were going to be taking on affiliate partners or working with affiliate partners, we are going to be doing co-branding, we will have private label capabilities and then obviously we are getting into wireless. I think everybody is. So that is kind of the direction. So what was our charge? And this is coming from Carlson Executive Management who happens to know travel very well. They said we needed to design and develop an implement, a world-class Web portal with basically most of the travel functionality that is on par with the competition and what that really means is that out of the gate, obviously
we can’t….we knew we could not compete with a lot of the players out there but we wanted to make sure that the core functionality would be competitive with what our competition is doing and obviously, as I just mentioned, as a Carlson entity, the travel component needed to be pretty strong and all this you understand that’s going in and when you are designing it and when you are building it, it really doesn’t come home until you actually see it for the first time and then the sparks fly. So what did we have to do? We essentially had to deliver all of this capability, not just the trailer piece of it but the entire thing in less than six months, and that included most of the analysis and spec work, some of which was done before the six month period and it really goes from the beginning of this year to May 31 st which is when we launched, which I will get into in a little bit. So we had to do a lot of the analysis work still and a lot of the spec work. We had to choose our partners and I can talk about it a little bit but we started down the road with a couple of partners and then switched. These guys came and showed us what we could do and it was a great solution for us, so we went that way. Also we had to choose technologies. We had to figure out where we were going to go and how we were going to do this and what technology partners are we going to use. If you try to ask me detailed technology questions, I’ll get confused, but I would be willing to take the questions back and get them answered if you want to leave them with me and then leave me your email address or your contact information, I will try to get those to you. And then we also had to get through all the development work, all the testing and the implementation. And then there is other considerations that….other considerations is not really a good thing, a good way to put it. I think if you look on the program you will see that Dave Griswold was supposed to be here, well I found out what yesterday about noon, that I was going to be here, so if you see inconsistencies in here, they’re in there, trust me. So some of the things we had to take a look at is personalization. We need ….the degree to which we want to have personalization on an on-going basis kind of drove some of the technology and partner quest decisions that we had and also because we were driving this through a loyalty program. Really what happens is when you sign on to 24K you can come on as a guest or you can sign in as a member. If you sign in as a member you can earn points for everything you do, so we really drove towards that. We chose Broadvision as one of our technology partners to develop our xxxxx and platform. We also did a couple of things. The presentation layer, obviously we developed that in Broadvision, we developed all the specs for those; the middle layer with the business rules, we developed that and then we worked with Datalex so all the host access goes through an interface to Datalex’s J Book-it product and one thing I didn’t mention is there is…..I’ll get into it a little bit, but we have our back-end fulfillment partner is TRX and they’re also an Atlanta company. Some of the complicating factors that we had …………………. End of tape
……………..that we have has expectations that we are going to be Best World Class, Best in Class and we needed to educate them about exactly you can do in the timeframes that we were given, which leads me into the time frame. We in essence had about six months to develop everything, and that is everything, that is from the first time you start rating specs to when everything goes live and all the contracts are inked are all that kind of stuff; it was everything. And believe it or not, we did have limited financial resources. We…..there wasn’t an endless pool of capital and we had to make sure that we were being careful with the dollars that we had and we had limited people resources too. Carlson is a fairly large corporation, we have a lot of travel experience, a lot of experience in general, but we couldn’t, we didn’t have the luxury of just grabbing bodies and throwing them at this project; we had to be pretty smart about it. So what we ended up doing is we put together a team and the team basically consisted of these: us as 24K employees, the developers, we brought E&Y as our developers. We brought in a project management consulting firm to help us out; they really saved us in more ways than one and we asked Datalex to be our partner and they graciously agreed, thank you again. We brought in Worldspan, that’s Mark Branders, and again we thank you, and TRX as the back-end fulfillment and then were on an ISP partner and then obviously other partners; there’s a myriad of partners. There is a couple sitting in the front here that I am not mentioning and they’re going to throw things at me, so… What we essentially put together was a virtual team and this virtual team…this is a pretty critical component of us getting to where we needed to be because we were spread out all across the States and we were travelling all over the place and we had development going on in multiple places and we had partners all over the place and so really how was it that we brought all this together and one of the key factors in pulling this all together was the Project Management Team. The projects software project, which is pretty standard really was our daily guide. We used that for everything. There was really no whimsical, ‘I feel like doing this today,’ I mean they came and sat on you and said “This is what is in the plan, you have to do this today,” and that wasn’t just us, that was all our partners too and one of the things that really was amazing, looking back, is that we had to put a lot of rigor and discipline in this whole thing and it is really, really sticking to the methodology that we had, is what brought us through in the time frame that we needed. We were able to launch successfully on 5.31 on time and on budget. Right now, and that was the soft launch, we really didn’t do any advertising it was more a kind of a testing time frame, our hard launch was 9.5 and that is when our media blitz started, though it was kind of soft at first, you might see some ads out there and you will see today and National Geographic and other magazines and publications, and so far the response has been phenomenal. I know I have skipped a lot of things here and went right from development into launch, but we have kind of a limited time frame, so if you have questions, keep them and at the end hopefully we can get to them. Some of the success drivers that we found when working this project through is, team work is critical. We had sub-teams and then we had bigger teams and the high-powered teams really made this thing fly. The co-ordination effort put together by the Project
Management team and others within our partners and within our organization also was key to success on this – world-class people and world-class partners and it sounds pretty cliché-ish, but it is really true, you need to have people that are committed and driven to make this thing happen, especially in these kind of time frames and with these kind of dollars. Some lessons learned – Number one is if you are into the methodology, when you figure out how you are going to make this thing work, stick to it unless you know it is wrong, stick to it, stick to it, stick to it and have people making sure you stick to it. That is critical. Communication, when you are in a virtual team environment you need to make sure that you are talking constantly, that you know what the right-hand is doing and you know what the left-hand is doing and that the multiple teams you have going on can co-ordinate their efforts as need be. Make sure you have goal oriented dedicated individuals. I think we were extremely luck and I am sure you have all been on projects where it was amazing what certain individuals can do and we were lucky, we had some really, really good people and one of the things that I can’t express enough is develop close partnerships with partners and there is one thing on here that we are running into today and I hate to admit problems, but, we are running into a problem right now with problem detection. That is one of the things that we didn’t realize, were problem isolation. With something as big and as large as we are building, we don’t need all the capacity that we have right now but we plan on using it down the road, so we built to that capacity and the problem we are having now is not so much in the grand scale that we have but in all minor bits and pieces and players that are involved with making this whole thing work, it makes it really, really hard to isolate where problems are. That is critical. Make sure you have somebody that is focused on that, that knows that. I am a little over my head right now in this because it is more on the technical side than I am, but trust me, we are living this right now and if we would have thought about this six months ago, it would have made our lives a lot easier. And then really the bottom line, this is my last slide – The partner share in the success. You know when you go out and when you get partners, make sure they are the right ones for you. Make sure that they’re the right ones for you now and in the future and that they’re as committed to making your project work as you are, because like in that Prod and Detection issue, if they’re not there doing the things that they need to do, then it all breaks down. You have got to work as one, and with that I am going to kind of hand it over to Jim and he is going to kind of talk about Datalex a little bit and I think hopefully if we have enough time at the end of this, we can answer some questions. JIM CRAWFORD: Thank you Mike, I appreciate that and all the kind words as well, but I would like to turn it over and Mark would like to have a few words to say about the implementation of the Carlson 24K Project as it relates specifically with the Worldspan operation.
MARK ??? Thanks Jim. We were very pleased to be picked to work on this with our two great partners. I think we were……we learned a lot with this too, given that the very short time frame. Worldspan, as everybody knows is a GDS. Everybody knows is old connectivity and our traditional business as Sue Powers mentioned yesterday, we are also….we think that the biggest player in online agency transactions. You know, for this project we were the GDS and we were also hosting a piece of the solution at our data center here in Atlanta. We also provided, I think, a structured message interface to help the connectivity piece and our integrated e-commerce services team also participated a bit on some of the project meetings along with Datalex and 24K. Jim.. JIM: Thanks Mark. Alright, I would like to just finalize with a short plug for Datalex. We are a technology provider to the travel industry with global reach. We have offices in every continent in the world and are continuing to expand. Our systems, and you will see some collateral material distributed on the tables here, or we have our booth back in the Exhibitor’s Center. The focus of Datalex is to provide travel solutions based on open architecture, fully scaleable, extendable and full communication capability to the GDS back ends as well as other direct connects, so we would be more than happy to work with you on your e-commerce solutions and with that I will open it up for any questions: PETER: I just….I think we will give them a round of applause. I have loads of questions I want to ask you, but I think two burning questions OK on something like this and Mike, if you can, it would be great to tell us. What was the cost? MIKE: PETER: Very inexpensive. I can’t say it as a big dollar sign – a big dollar sign. OK, if you can’t…. I mean, can you tell us? You can’t tell us. OK.
MIKE: No, we’re a private company and unfortunately we can’t…I’m not really at liberty to specify a sum. PETER: the revenue model? OK, then if you can’t tell us that, I am intrigued to know what is
MIKE: The revenue model, that’s interesting and that’s where we separate ourselves a little bit from some of the other competition that we have. We are not solely a travel provider. We also have obviously, shopping and we get…we are going to generate revenue through affiliates, through private labeling and whatnot, but we are also, where our biggest revenue driver is going to be is with Goldpoints, quite frankly. The more Goldpoints partners we sign up, the brick and mortar Goldpoints partners we sign up, the better off we are going to be. The revenues we get from selling those is what is going to drive us into the future. That is where we are going to get most of our revenue. PETER: And the last question and then we will throw it open, just for about five minutes, but, when do you expect to implement wireless and what is going to be the driver to do that?
MIKE: Well, we are working on it right now. It’s amazing, what a segway. We’re in the process of exploring that right now. We don’t have a time frame but at the rate at which we are pursuing this the time frame is not great. I don’t have a lot more details more for you, I’m hoping the next nine to twelve months we probably will have something either already out there or ready to go. PETER: Do you see it is a major driver. I give you an example. In Europe right now the talk is, it’s wireless. OK. Go to wireless and more to the point into integrating strategy for wireless. In other words how are we going to utilize all of these tools, what is the wireless thing going to do with the Internet site and vice versa type thing, where you are going to move information around. Do you…..in terms of setting a budget going forward, OK, you know, you have just launched, you’re into this thing, you’re going to start promoting it, when do you see OK, the need to suddenly switch tactic and have you got like a deep sink hole of money to be able to do that? MIKE: One can only wish! No, that is not the case. We are essentially on our own. We have been sponsored by Carlson but we are essentially now on our own, so the revenue that we generate from here on in is the only revenue that we get to use and speaking to your question about changing direction somewhat and I think you were referring to the wireless, that has essentially always been our goal as we knew we were heading there. What that means for revenue generation, I don’t know at this time, but it is something that you will need to address and get into if you want to be on par. PETER: Yes, I mean I guess…..finally because it trips that question. Can I redeem the point through the site? Could I redeem the points therefore on a mobile? MIKE: Yep!
PETER: OK, that’s an interesting one. OK, let’s throw it open to the floor. Do we have any questions here? No questions. JIM: I would like to make one final comment to compliment one of our colleagues, Timothy O’Neil-Dunne with VEO Consulting. He is the one who actually acted as a matchmaker and put in his group finding each other to make the successful team. We overlooked his mention. MIKE: PETER: MIKE: PETER: That was the one partner, I didn’t mention. What is your biggest challenge? Right, now, today? Making money. When do you expect to be profitable?
MIKE: Profitable? I think we’re a year or two out quite frankly. It all depends on the new partners that we bring in, the sale of Goldpoints. There is a lot of question marks up in the air that would drive that and I’m guessing at this point. PETER: Yes, we have a question, down the back. Do we have a microphone? If you could just say your name and where you come from. Ah, there we go. QUESTION: Thank you, my name is Gus Alba, I’m with Sonera. There is a 24K concept online, green stamp online, have any competition at the moment? Are you the pioneers in this concept? MIKE: We have partners in the loyalty arena, we have partners in the points arena and they’re pretty similar but we don’t have competition as far as I know that is exactly with our place in the ring right now that encompasses the bricks and the mortar, encompasses all the partners that we have, encompasses the onsite features which would be the travel shopping and entertainment and whatnot. I’m not aware of it right now. GUS ALBA: But not to have competition sounds pretty good. MIKE: It’s not an bad thing and you know what? It’s kind of the driver for the Carlson brands too, I mean this is something that we have been driving to for a long time and it was just the right time for us to do it. PETER: OK, Gentlemen, thank you very much indeed. We will move along now to the next session which is a case study on the power of streaming videos as a motivator to turn browsers into buyers. As we all know the power of the Internet is not just text but one can integrate into that a whole gambit of new media type technologies, sound, the ability to actually have video, gorgeous pictures and the travel business, at the end of the day, is particularly in the area of leisure, is all about destinations, finding information on those destinations, the ability to be able to see them and that type of thing and our next speaker, John Bobel who is the President and COO of Travelago.com. John has a background in television and radio, newspaper and magazine editorial, advertising and marketing. He has been involved in Internet and video production technologies and he created a marketed news and information services for CNN, public television and retail Web customers. Travelago.com is a video destination guide and I am sure John is going to give us a very pictorial and very attractive background case study here in terms of integrating this wonderful stuff. So, John, without much further ado, the floor is yours.
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