Firm times aren't firm anymore


Technology companies seem to change their names with remarkable frequency these days.

This notion came to me during the run-up to the annual Travel Weekly Technology Conference, held May 3 to 5 in Chicago. The names of participating firms kept changing.

So, during spare moments at the show, I asked a few people why they had gone to the expense of changing a company name and taken on the rebranding challenge that followed. I have these answers:

  • GRSNetwork (formerly Global Reservations Systems, a.k.a. GRS), Corte Madera, Calif. This firm, which provides low-cost access to Apollo, has broadened its focus and isn't just a res system anymore.
  • It wanted a name that better reflected its relationship to the trade. After talking to a branding consultant, the firm chose a name that retains the GRS acronym, which, though not very old, was becoming known.

  • Nexion (formerly ITA Network), San Jose, Calif. It began life as a travel agency targeting the public on the Web.
  • Now the provider of CRS access to other agents, it, too, wanted a more fitting name and hired a consultant to help. Nexion (pronounced NEK-shun) is based on two roots -- "nexus," meaning core, and "connection" -- which suggests a hub for the agencies it serves.

  • (formerly Orbit Travel Network), Whitefish, Mont. This firm, which assists agencies in developing Web business plans, took advantage of a restructuring to change its name to better reflect the kind of business it is in. It's the dot-com that makes the difference.
  • Pegasus Solutions (formerly Pegasus Systems), Dallas. It was the purchase of Rezsolutions that led to a name change here. The word "solutions" reflects the Rezsolutions connection.
  • TRX Inc. (formerly WorldTravel Technologies), Atlanta. This company is declaring its independence with a name that no longer identifies it with its roots, having been founded some years ago by the owners of WorldTravel Partners.
  • The firm, which sells quality control and other such tools and provides on-line fulfillment services for the likes of, also has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. The TRX name is meant to be suggestive of the word "transaction."

  • 12degrees Corp. (formerly Korobra), Palo Alto, Calif. This firm, which targets the independent traveler via the Web, found that no one could remember or spell Korobra, important considerations for a Web address.
  • 12degrees is expected to be easier for the public to use, and, the company said, the name is meant to reflect the traveler's desire to be involved in determining the direction of his or her travel experience.

    The explanations sound good, but I think I need a chart to keep track of everybody.

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