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IARE members, meeting in Phoenix, weigh effects of new technologies

Travel Distribution Report May 13, 1996.

The effects of recent technological advances, as well as a host of workforce management issues, dominated the 11th annual conference of the International Association of Reservation Executives, held May 5-8 in Phoenix, AZ.

Having recently dropped the word "hotel" from its name, this association of reservation managers from the hotel, cruise, auto rental and other industry sectors met to discuss the effects of the wave of innovations on voice center operations.

In her keynote address, Dr. Sandra Howlett challenged the 210 attendees to understand that the pace of change is different within each operation, but to remember that most new ideas eventually affect every organization, so there is important value in sharing experiences with colleagues.

In themed workshops, as well as group sessions segmented by size of reservation center, the delegates discussed how computer telephony integration (CTI), voice recognition technology and Internet distribution will shape the operation of tomorrow's centers, as well as the impact of home-based agents, flextime spending, and job blending.

A record 25 companies exhibited products and services.  They ranged from ACDs and staff scheduling software to call center furnishings and agent headsets.

CallTask, Inc. (a division of Norrell Corp.) and Sprint Telecenters, Inc., promoted outsourcing calls to their respective service bureaus.

New versions of central reservation systems were displayed by Chouinard & Myher, Inc. (whose largest client is Doubletree Hotels) and by Hotel Data Systems, Inc., which recently announced the selection of its system by TeleService Resources.

Representatives of the Belgian and Netherlands PTTs were on hand to promote their availability as locations for European call centers.

At the annual business meeting session, IARE members elected Elliott Winit, senior director of reservations for Red Lion Hotels, as president.  Also elected were Tina Peyton, InnLink, as vice president; Cindi Cunningham, Anasazi, secretary; and Robb Anderson, HFS, treasurer.

Newly elected directors are Jim Lovvorn, Sheraton; Sheila McFarland, Hilton Reservations; Will Jansen, Holiday Inn; Mark Weber, Budget Rent-A-Car; and Tim Cook, Walt Disney.

Miami was announced as the site for next year's conference, scheduled to take place April 27-30.