E-Travco buys Mass. agency group

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- E-Travco, a travel technology and services provider based here, purchased AustinCoast of Framingham, Mass., and its five affiliated organizations: Austin Associates, Coast Travel Group, Travel Design Associates, Five-Star Travel Association and AustinRiverside.

Norman Cotton, one of AustinCoast's cofounders, will continue to manage the business as president.

The trade group was established in 1996 by Cotton and Larry Austin, who is chairman and CEO of Austin Travel in Melville, N.Y. The organization now counts 900 affiliated agencies working with nearly 100 preferred suppliers.

With its program called Town TravelSites, e-Travco builds master Web sites, each designed to be used by agencies in a city or region. Customers can choose their local agent and book travel.

E-Travco, founded in 1999 by travel agent D. Brent Pasquinelli, who now is e-Travco's chairman, also offers its Agent Desktop product featuring an online customer relationship management (CRM) system with e-mail capabilities.

In November, AustinCoast and e-Travco announced an alliance whereby e-Travco would provide member agencies with Web sites and CRM services.

Also as part of the deal, e-Travco said at the time it would use AustinCoast's preferred suppliers as the main source for promotions on its hosted sites and would offer its then-current 175 subscribers membership in AustinCoast.

To date, the company said, there are Town TravelSites in 48 U.S. markets, 700 participating agencies and 85,000 registered customers.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

You can reach the journalist who wrote this article at [email protected].

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