Introduction to TRES from Lee Rosen
An introduction to Tres
My name is Lee Rosen. I founded Trams and now I am starting Tres. Several people have asked about the story with these companies, so I am doing my best to share it here.
Why I Started Trams
Literally “last century”, I finished my education and ran my own successful computer supply company for two years. I learned I love the logic of technology and how the right system in the right place could be so helpful. And, “connecting” that data would greatly benefit users. But I also developed a love for travel, and the thought of a big, structured company was not for me, then nor as I learned later, ever.
I literally left my environment for six months traveling in Africa and Europe. While traveling I realized that developing and providing automation for the retail travel industry was the perfect combination and place for my career.
In 1988 I founded Trams. Our founding philosophy was to work with our clients. To support that philosophy, we developed a new idea for pricing. Rather than charge a lot of money upfront for our system, we came up with the idea of a reasonable monthly, no commitment fee. For that fee agencies got not only our software, but enhancements, training, support, and us on the same team with a vested interest in their successful usage of our system. If users are happy, they will continue to use our system and pay their monthly fee – and we both win. While it cost a lot to initially develop the system, our business idea was to get a small return on that initial investment and build a company that could grow and succeed with the successful usage of our products by our customers.
This philosophy served us well over the years. Our staff loved the “work together” with our clients’ philosophy and we were able to attract great people. For the 22 years I ran Trams not one person that worked for me quit and my direct reports averaged over 20 years of working together.
We started with Trams Back office and grew together with our customers. Our plan worked well enough that in 1995 we invested in a new product, ClientBase, basically starting over with our philosophy: charge a low, all- inclusive fee and grow together with our customers. And integrate with applications that add value to our customers.
Why I sold Trams
After 22 years, and lots of growth and virtually a 100% renewal rate, Sabre made an offer to purchase Trams that just made sense to me. They committed to continuing the Trams philosophy to invest in product development and customer support. Sabre also had products that Trams products could integrate with that would add a lot of value for Trams customers. The idea of selling to Sabre was an expansion as I was named EVP of Sabre Leisure. It also was an opportunity for new challenges as well as financial security for me.
I left Sabre in 2010 after three years. My main reason for leaving was I felt I could not be productive in that corporate environment. Like they say in many breakups, “it was me, not them.” I wished Sabre and my former employees the best and left with three areas of advice:
- Never vary from the Trams philosophy: we are on the same side of our customers and their monthly fee is to continue to enhance products and support users.
- Cloud-Based systems can solve the data access and connecting multiple system challenges that agencies face and it was more than time for Trams to evolve their products to that platform.
- Be nice to Dan Palley. He has tremendous amount of domain knowledge as the original architect of the Trams products.
Why I started Tres
I personally had a very good decade after leaving Trams. Most importantly I had the family time I sought in my kids’ teenage years. I also was able to spend more time in my real estate ventures. And I worked in technology in other spaces – although learned some lessons there including the importance of great developers.
It is a weird feeling selling a company. I knew it was no longer mine. But I still cared. Almost like a child grown up now and on their own. I cared about the employees, the products, and the customers. I cared that Trams was on such a great path and could and should be doing so many things to continue to advance the product. I am not OK that Sabre/Trams got off that path.
Not seeing the right path for Trams, Tres was born three months later. The name Tres is a play on two things:
- It stands for “Travel Enterprise Systems” with our focus on providing up-to-date, Cloud-Based technology solutions enabling access and integration.
- Trams for Dos – released in the 80’s was the first version. Trams window products released in the mid 90’s was the second product. And “Tres” is the Spanish word for the number three.
Our goal is not a re-creation of Trams products. Our goal is a creation of a new product fully taking advantage of today’s technologies as well as changes in the travel industry and society. Take our experience and knowledge and apply it to create what Agencies and Advisors need today.
And our philosophy is straightforward: Be on the same side as our customers. Our monthly pricing includes product, real enhancements, and support. Our customers success dictates our success.
Technology today enables another philosophy that the original Trams had and Tres shares. I refer to it as the “Aristotle approach”. Aristotle is credited with the quote, “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” With today’s retail travel needs, along with Cloud-based technology, there is such a great opportunity for travel agents to benefit from technologies working together. Connecting to multiple web-based booking engines, client reporting system, analysis, consortia marketing programs and more. Our goal now is to be on the same side as our clients, and the same side as our allies that can also help our clients.
I am very excited and encouraged to be with Tres. I am building a great team and feel like I am now where I belong.