The travel technology sector is a tough place to make money, says Softvoyage executive Dan Langevin, commenting on the failure of ‘friendly competitor’ Travel Success Group (TSG), which operated under the Convergentware Travel Technologies brand.
The Mississauga-based company that specialized in providing technology services to travel agencies was forced into involuntary bankruptcy by creditors, leaving over $6.6 million in debts. The privately held firm went into receivership August 12th, with Montreal’s RSM Richter Inc. the appointed trustee.
Many travel agencies are among the list of unsecured creditors who are not expected to receive any payouts. While most of the debts aren’t huge, Travel Market Report said yesterday that Toronto’s New Wave Travel was on the hook for nearly $60,000 in unpaid GDS productivity incentives.
Convergentware provided GDS connectivity, an Internet booking engine, multisource front ends and other technology products and services to agencies across Canada. It was announced yesterday that the bankruptcy court has approved the sale of the company’s assets to Michigan-based travel technology company Wizie.com.
“It’s really too bad. We were competitors, but friendly competitors, and I have a lot of respect for Warren Stableford (co-founder and CEO of TSG),” said Langevin in an interview with Open Jaw. “You don’t want that to happen to anybody.”
Langevin says he doesn’t know the details of what went wrong at Convergentware, but says he knows all too well the challenges of making a go of it in travel technology.
“There is constant investment in research and development, and what we will program this year is completely different from what we programmed last year – even using different programming languages, not to mention complicated network and infrastructure. If you don’t keep up, you fall behind very quickly, and it takes a huge client base to keep up that kind of effort,” says Langevin.
Wizie.com, the company that has purchased the assets of TSG/Convergentware, is best known for private fare management products aimed at airline consolidators. It has pledged to offer a smooth transition and no service disruption for agency clients of Convergentware.
While Wizie.com has said it will retain some of the technical staff of the bankrupt company, Langevin says Softvoyage would be happy to look at resumés from impacted staff. “We’re always looking for good people, and I have a lot of sympathy for people with families and responsibilities that lose their jobs.”
Langevin says Softvoyage has had a conversation on the possibility of working with Wizie.com on a project, and sees opportunities. “We develop different types of travel technology and if we see opportunities to work together that benefit both parties, then we absolutely will,” he says.