|TRAVEL TECH TALK WITH TRAVLYNX|
|Kristin Intress, CEO and president, updates TRAVELHotNews.com on company’s new technology, partnership and upcoming initiatives|
TravLynx has recently rebranded itself. The company that used to be known as InnLink is no more.
|Kristin Intress, CEO and president, TravLynx
TRAVELHotNews.com connected with Kristin Intress, CEO and president, TravLynx, to find out exactly what the TravLynx technology is capable of and how it will benefit the travel industry.
For starters, TravLynx is used for reservation services. The technology powers over 5,000 independent hotels, chains and resorts all over the world.
“TravLynx is the name of the [company, as well as] the technology that we use for the three brands that [we operate]; InnLink, InnVite, and VisitUs,” Intress said.
InnLink offers detailed reservation and revenue management services for mid-tier hotel chains and independent properties; InnVite offers customized reservation and revenue services for boutique, resort and upscale hotels; and VisitUs offers reservation portals and booking services that package attractions, activities and hotels found within a particular destination.
“When travel agents log into their GDS and search for hotels, [TravLynx] will provide a listing of higher-priced hotels along with independent hotels, airlines, car rentals, activities, [etc].,” Intress said. “There is a [full] inventory for a particular destination in one place, in one folio, and it allows agents to accomplish everything [that] they want to.”
CONFUSING AND UNCONFUSING
As mentioned, TravLynx used to be Innlink. Intress said the company decided to launch TravLynx as the parent brand in order to confuse and unconfuse the marketplace.
“When I bought the company, the name was InnLink,” Intress said. “That was five and a half years ago and at that time, Innlink represented about 700 properties in the U.S., now, we’re at 5,000 properties. InnLink still exists. It’s a service that we offer - it's not the brand.”
Intress said that InnLink started becoming a brand for midscale services. However, the company wanted to update its technology platform in order to accommodate the upscale market, thus, it launched TravLynx as the parent brand.
TO SERVE AND PROTECT: PARTNERING WITH SHIFT4
Intress has always been active in trying to educate properties about PCI compliance. She said that she was impressed by the way Shift4, a payment processor, used the tokenization method to help hotels navigate through their reservation system.
“As we built the TravLynx technology, we also needed to have a certification that fell under the PCI world [since] we pass along credit card data to our hotels,” Intress said. “Everyone had to go through certification but there [wasn’t a] certain way of doing it. So, I sat down with Shift4 two years ago and said, ‘In a perfect world, we should only care about our customers. So, how do we accommodate the world so that our hotels remain compliant and safe?’”
|Kristin Intress, CEO and president, TravLynx and Bob Lowe, vice president, business development, Shift4
The companies came up with an idea that would secure credit card information by passing customer data along to a participating hotel in a token like form.
“In layman’s terms; CRS systems were the problem child amongst the ecosystem,” Intress said. “When we got information from Expedia, or travel agent partners, all [we’d get is the] name of the guest and the credit card [number]. We then passed that to the PMS vendor, and to the hotel, and it wasn’t encrypted in any way... [Now, we found] a solution that will keep everyone safe.”
The solution is to send all the credit card data that comes to TravLynx to another virtual location that is managed by Shift4. In turn, Shift4 will send the data to the hotels in a token form.
“When hotels look up credit card information they’re not in their own technology - they’re logging into Shift4,” Intress said. “In exchange for the token, the [hotels] get the credit card information [and are] able to view it.”
Not only is TravLynx focused on maintain the token project with Shift4, Intress said that the company also plans to help hotels optimize their revenue by giving them advice on things such as brand imaging, guest descriptions and room pricing.
She said that the company’s second initiative will be a focus on its VisitUs brand.
“One of the main things that people do if they want to go to Wisconsin [for example], is they go to the state’s website,” Intress said. “But the problem is, when [they] go to [the destination website] there’s really not a lot to do, so, [they] end up going to Expedia or Priceline. We’re trying to enable those websites [and help them] provide the services [that travellers] want.”