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AXSES - In The News (Advocate Sept. 27th 2004)

11/19/2004



AXSES Systems Caribbean, a Barbados based company is striking it hot on the international scene with leading edge technology.

In this month alone the company has announced several significant developments in the international arena.

Firstly, AXSES appointed a Canadian distributor to market its innovative travel solution - DestinationSuites.com. Made to advance travel marketing, DestinationSuites combines all the technology needed to operate and market leading edge travel sites. It includes a powerhouse of services including a reservations engine and a ready-to-roll network of travel agents.

Following this, http://BookingsBarbados.com was launched. This is a smart looking site that allows users to find suitable resorts and reserve them directly or add them to a compare list for evaluation.

On September 16th, AXSES launched http://CaribbeanHopping.com, a site that markets Barbados as the hub of Caribbean vacations. Not only does the site provide a unique way to view information by moods and themes, it allows a new convenience to travelers to book packages including Barbados as well as another Island that suits their personal preference.

On September 21st, AXSES announced that its major travel portal http://Barbados.org, the Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia, is now the MOST popular of all Caribbean sites, beating Mexico and Jamaica in link popularity, a measure derived by the internet service of Widexl. A graphical representation of the results for all Caribbean territories can be seen on the internet at http://axses.com/solutions_linkpopularity.html

What's next from this small Barbadian company, quietly providing world class software and enhancing the business of some 200 clients in Barbados?

I talked to Ian Clayton, CEO to find out more.

Q.> How did AXSES become so good at this business?

A.> We have a clear business mission which is stated right on our site major portal http://Barbados.org. It is two fold. Excellence in Service and Excellence in Content.

In service, we are systems people. We don't just build websites. We build powerful marketing systems which our customers own.

In building Barbados.org, we went out of our way to create truly exceptional people oriented content, with cultural and descriptive information, as well as appropriate and useful technology. We have become the online Encyclopedia of Barbados and because of this people link to us from everywhere.

Q.> Tell us something more about the technology. You have three major travel initiatives, DestinationSuites, arcRes and arcAdmin. How do these help advance travel?

A.> They are all smart systems. DestinationSuite.com is really the culmination of our 10 years of building travel systems. It combines many pieces of technology including our own e-commerce engine for resorts and travel portals. What's exciting for us now about DestinationSuites is the pieces we still want to build - like the allocation manager, to allow resorts to manage the allocation of rooms to intermediaries like Expedia, and tour operators like Thomas Cook.

Q.> Allocation? You mean the inventory of rooms available. But if they have a real time reservation system, they don't have to worry about that, do they?

A.> Not exactly. Many do not have a property management system and even if they do they find many partners will not use it. Thomas Cook wants to know that it has 10 rooms to sell (10 rooms allocated). They can't do a marketing campaign based on a maybe. The rooms have to be available. So allocation is a must for a growing number of partners and it is getting very difficult to manage all the players who have allocation.

Q.> OK. So what do you do about it?

A.> Our reservations system gives clients the option to use allocation or not. We offer a Request model, and FreeSell (sell if not blocked). The request module is a powerful direct marketing system, where the resort will confirm availability in the old fashioned way. To some, that's a benefit as it means one less allocation while still saving time in costing holidays and providing a direct marketing service.

Q.> How does arcRes help in direct marketing?

A.> ArcRes is a resorts-own BRANDED service. It delivers a database of all people who look to book. Not just those who actually book.

Q.> How does that differ from other reservation system offered by Expedia, say?

A.> ArcRes is designed to deliver the entire population of people looking at booking options, not just the small percent who will book. For every 100 persons looking at booking, on average only 5 complete a booking on-line. ArcRes captures all users (lookers as well as bookers) in a direct marketing database that belongs to the resort.

Q.> So how much does it cost?

A.> It's FREE to all Barbados resorts that host their website with us. There are no on-going transaction fees and no commissions. We charge only for training and setup which is nominal Bds $250 one time. There are no annual hosting and no license fees.

Actually this is the subject of our NEXT press release. Already several resorts are signed on and many are in the queue.

Q.> Well that has to be good news for resorts. How can you afford to do this? Has it not taken quite a sizeable investment?

A.> Yes. We have invested 2 years of development and testing. It's FREE, only if the client hosts with us. But then, our hosting rates are only Bds$600 per year.

We want clients to use the best technology so that they can participate in new markets as well as provide better service and maximize revenue. There will be many new marketing channels available as we build arcres based services, clients will have the option to use at very affordable rates.

For example:

We will offer the option of dealing direct with our network of agents for bookings coming from clients who use arcRes based services on the agents own website.

We can send them direct bookings from http://RealHolidays.com our tour operator business, marketing "Holidays Made to Measure". In these and many new services clients will get additional exposure, increased revenue and higher margins.

We can include them in new travel portals and new services using arcRes like the http://BookingsBarbados.com new Search and Compare feature.

Q.> So arcRes is free in order to get clients ready to market using new technology which you will charge for. So how much will all that cost?

A > The new services are optional and clients may choose nothing in which case there are no additional fees. But we believe that many will see the value of the new services which are priced at exceptionally low rates. We already have commitments from clients who want to take advantage of these new services and markets.

We charge only $250bds pa for most of the new services and new market channels. Clients who bought arcRes on our previous plan will now get many of these services without additional costs and will no longer pay licenses for arcRes

Q.> Well that does sound like a winning combination.

On another matter, I have heard that BTA is not going to be using your site http://Barbados.org as their official site for much longer. How will that affect you?

A.> We feel that it will affect the entire industry in a negative way. People do not want to spend more on advertising. They will want to stay with us because it is working. But, some may feel they also have to advertise with BTA thereby incurring more expenses.

We expect that some clients will switch, but that will leave more business for those who stay and we shall continue to outperform all others; this we know.

In the long term, we have the market position and we understand the needs of our clients. We have the technology that will make them winners and we will deliver more direct sales with the highest margins while helping install some of the very best IT solutions in the world.


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