Travelocity President and CEO Michelle Peluso, an advocate for greater industry focus and collaboration on customer service, is leading a renewed effort to improve the lives of the traveling public.
"Because consumers are dealing with rising costs in many sectors of the economy, it is in the travel industry's long term interest to increase value by delivering better service and greatly improving the customer experience," Peluso said. "The string of disruptions travelers endured this spring, combined with the overall decline in customer satisfaction, as noted in several recent surveys, should sound the alarm and serve as a call-to-action to fix customer service at every stage of travel."
To reinvigorate Travelocity's own philosophy of "Customer Championship" with travelers, suppliers and its team, Travelocity and Travelocity Business dedicated the month of May to diving into their customers' favorite and least favorite parts of travel. Highlights of Customer Championship Month included:
Peluso hosted and moderated a panel comprised of eight loyal Travelocity customers. During the 90-minute session, Peluso gave a brief overview on the current state of the travel industry before opening up the session to hear from customers on issues of most concern to them.
Travelocity and Travelocity Business executives, including Peluso; Chief Operating Officer Tracey Weber; Chief Marketing Officer Jeffrey Glueck; Chief Financial Officer John Mills; Vice President of Sales and Customer Care Ginny Mahl; and several other executives in charge of Travelocity's lines of business, traveled to customer care centers in San Antonio and Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and participated in live customer calls with service agents.
Travelocity's 2,000 team members at its North American offices in Southlake, TX, New York, San Francisco, San Antonio, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and North Palm Beach , Fla. , personally signed thank you cards to 10,000 of Travelocity's most loyal customers and more than 2,000 supplier partners.
"While this effort was only a beginning, we hope it will inspire everyone in the travel industry to take a hard look at what needs to be done to make traveling the pleasurable experience it should be," Peluso said.
During the customer panel, the discussion covered an array of topics ranging from frustrations travelers deal with when trying to redeem frequent flier miles to the trustworthiness of traveler reviews.
"I was very impressed with the knowledge and passion for travel our panelists exhibited," Peluso said. "They also had some great ideas on how we can improve our site and we are now considering ways to act on some of that feedback."
Customer Championship Month also helped mark the three-year anniversary of Customer Championship, an innovative program designed to highlight Travelocity's commitment to working more collaboratively and creatively with travel suppliers on behalf of customers, along with the Travelocity Guarantee ( www.travelocity.com/guarantee ) and Customer Bill of Rights ( www.travelocity.com/billofrights ). These initiatives have involved hundreds of employees throughout the company and included millions of dollars spent in new technology, training and education to improve service standards.
Put to the test by several major disruptions of service this spring, Travelocity proactively contacted more than 30,000 impacted customers with a personal email or phone call to advise them of their options and/or new policy changes, such as new fees several airlines have added for checking an extra bag. These one-to-one emails and phone calls supplemented the automated alerts that customers routinely receive to their mobile devices advising them of schedule changes and cancelled flights.
"Customer Championship Month was about more than sending a coupon or making a one-time appearance at our call centers or shaking hands with a few customers," Peluso said. "Our goal was to gain better insights as to why our customers are calling us and where there are glitches in the system. If we are to improve as a team, we have to remove ourselves from our comfort zones and get our hands dirty on the front line."
About Travelocity Global
Travelocity® is committed to being the traveler's champion -- before, during and after the trip - and provides the most comprehensive and proactive guarantee in the industry ( www.travelocity.com/guarantee ). This customer-driven focus, backed by 24/7 live phone support, competitive prices and powerful shopping technology has made Travelocity one of the largest travel companies in the world with gross bookings of more than U.S. $10 billion in 2007. Travelocity also owns and operates: Travelocity Business® for business travel; igougo.com, a leading online travel community; lastminute.com, a leader in European online travel; and ZUJI, a leader in Asia-Pacific online travel. Travelocity is owned by Sabre Holdings Corporation, a world leader in travel marketing and distribution.