Kevin Austin, TRX's executive vice president of TravelTrax,
recently became the largest single stockholder on the TRX management team.
While BCD Holdings remains the majority stockholder for the travel technology
company, Austin now controls 15.2 percent of TRX, with 2,710,254 shares plus
100,000 options of the total 18.5 million shares.
"I'm bullish on what we're doing," explained
Austin, who joined TRX when it acquired his company, Hi-Mark Software, in January
2007. "I'm just reinvesting some of the capital I got in the transaction."
Austin said that with the stock selling in the 50- to
60-cent range, "I believe the stock price is not reflective of our value.
I saw it as a good chance to increase my position, and ultimately over time, if
you have something of value people will realize it. I like to bet on myself and
on our technology."
TRX is making money, Austin said, and successfully
transitioning from transaction processing—with Expedia moving more of its
transaction business in-house—to spreading its business across more companies
and focusing on the data arena. "We're headed in the right direction,"
he said. "We've got good things going that are going to yield a good
One significant change in the past year is that TRX has
significantly increased direct corporate sales. It now counts more than 50 of
the Fortune 500 among its more than 100 total direct corporate clients in
addition to the thousands of customers it serves through several hundred travel
"Traditionally, TRX has gotten the bulk of its revenue
from four or five really big customers," Austin said. "It's not a bad
thing to have, but we also want to increase our customer base."
With the launch this summer of the company's Truexpense
expense reporting tool in addition to its data products, TravelTrax and TRX
Travel Analytics, Austin said, "there's an opportunity to add more direct
TRX has focused on integrating the new expense reporting
option with its other products, Austin said. "One thing we've done well
with Truexpense is focusing not just on automating the expense and
reimbursement process, but on gathering that data to look at the entire trip.
Our corporate customers are not just looking at average ticket price, but at
the total cost of the trip to measure ROI. To do that, you have to tie the data
back to trips, and trips to projects, and know what it really costs. Our
booking engine is bundled in with Truexpense, so we offer the complete end-to-end,
from booking to mid-office and quality control to expensing. We tie TravelTrax
into the ResX booking platform to be able to report on everything as soon as
you book it via the Correx platform. We're unique in the end-to-end game, where
we can pull in everything not booked through the online channel, so we can grab
data via Correx on the GDS side and back-office data through TravelTrax. We
interface to more than 100 back-office and bank card systems globally."
Unique among end-to-end solutions, claimed Austin, is TRX's
mid-office quality control functionality that lets users track from various
sources and by employee IDs and cost centers. "It's our ability to take
that data from different sources, tie them together and distribute it via the
company's structure, whether it's a geographic, functional or management
hierarchy," he said. "Anyone with system access can run any report at
any time from any level on the hierarchy.
"Data is like an addiction," Austin said. "When
you have some and start to use it, you see how you can drive value and start to
want more. You look in places you never looked before. Oracle, once they
started interfacing their card data in our system, realized how much they were
spending on meals and hired a company to negotiate discounts in key markets
with restaurants and chains. It was multi-million-dollar savings. There's so
much opportunity out there."