Thisco, The Hotel Industry Switching Company, set up three years ago by a consortium of hoteliers is bringing its UltraSwitch reservation system for travel agents to Europe. UltraSwitch connects hotels and travel agents, via eight airline reservation systems, each of which holds booking information about some hotels. Dedicated AT&T telephone circuits link each reservation system to UltraSwitch as well as to the computer reservation systems of Thisco’s 17 member hotel companies. Travel agents can then access UltraSwitch and get information on all the hotel’s in the participating chain, rather than having to choose which reservation system to access first or creating individual direct links to several hotels. UltraSwitch in the US uses two AT&T System 7080 multiple-processor computers, plus AT&T’s 6386 personal computers as communication concentrators, front-ending the 7080s. Thisco says that by acting as a centralised database, UltraSwitch provides faster interaction between a travel agent and a hotel, once an agent sends the request, hotel infor-mation comes back in within ten seconds. As well as increasing the speed of the information, the UltraSwitch system is more geared towards travel agent’s needs than central reservation systems, which were designed for airline bookings. Travel agents can now get more detailed information in English, rather than in codes. Thisco is basing its European operation in London, it will go live in the August of this year.