Making IT Travel Agent

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2002-09-16 Print this article Print

It's difficult to find hotels that offer high-speed net access.

Its time for IT departments to absorb business travel planning because its outgrown agencies and agents. Sound radical? How much of your responsibility involves remote access? Wireless data and voice? How important is constant connectivity? Probably more important than wringing the last dollar out of travel.

Lets start with hotels. Many professionals require high-speed access on the road to download reports, update corporate data and do research. Dial-up doesnt cut it.

Many hotels offer high-speed Internet access, but its difficult to locate them. I recently booked rooms in Las Vegas for our Internet editors and had a devil of a time finding the ones offering broadband. I got help from Lawrence Serchuk, of DataValet, which provides high-speed access to hotels. He directed me to and its comprehensive list of geek-friendly hotels, or geektels. But you still have to win the VPN crapshoot; many hotels high-speed connections dont support secure tunneling. Short of calling the hotel, how would you know?

Lets look at airlines. Some offer seat-back power; others dont. Some are developing rudimentary Internet and e-mail access. Do you know which?

Some rental cars have satellite navigation systems. Some Amtrak trains have power outlets at every seat. Does your travel department know which?

Travel agencies typically strike deals with a few hotels and airlines, yet the agencies usually do this without considering the data needs of clients.

Maybe IT departments dont want the hassle of running the corporate travel department. But they need to get involved in travel decisions because today, if youre not plugged in while away from the office, you cant do your job.

Are you ready to co-opt travel? Jim Louderback is editor in chief of Ziff Davis Internet. He can be reached at

With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel