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American Airlines began offering customer access to its electronic reservation system, Sabre, in 1978 to travel agencies, and in the mid-1980s on CompuServe and GEnie to consumers under the "eAAsySabre" brand name. This service was extended to America Online in the 1990s. The CEO of the eAAsySabre was Kathy Misunas.
Travelocity was created in 1995 through a joint venture between Worldview Systems Corporation and Sabre Holdings. The founding team at Worldview conceived of the idea in 1994 as an extension to their online travel database offering which had been distributed through Sabre, Bloomberg, AOL and many others. The founding team at Worldview joined with distribution partner Sabre in a 50-50 JV that resulted in the development and launch of Travelocity in 1995-1996. The founding members of the Travelocity team, responsible for the conception, development and launch at Worldview were: Steve Baloff (Founder, CEO), Sam Haugh (VP Operations), BD Goel (VP Engineering), Neil Checkoway (VP Marketing), Steve Bengston (VP Business Development), Helen Zia (Editor-in-Chief) and Katherine Chesbrough(CFO). Later in 1996, Worldview's investors (Advanced Publication and Ameritech) sold their stake in Travelocity to a subsidiary of Sabre Holdings and was run by long-time Sabre information technology executive Terry Jones. As one of the pioneers of web-based disintermediation, Travelocity.com was the first website that allowed consumers the ability to reserve, book, and purchase tickets without the help of a travel agent or broker. In addition to airfares, the site also permits consumers to book hotel rooms, rental cars, cruises and packaged vacations.
In 2000, Sabre negotiated a merger of Travelocity with Preview Travel. The resulting company was independently quoted on the NASDAQ exchange, with Sabre continuing to own around 70 percent of the combined company's outstanding stock.
In March 2002, Travelocity acquired last minute travel specialist Site59.com. The CEO and founder of Site59, Michelle Peluso, joined Travelocity with the acquisition as senior vice president, product strategy and distribution. Peluso became Travelocity's COO in April 2003 and was then named president and chief executive officer of Travelocity in December 2003. Many members of Peluso's former management team at Site59 were appointed to senior management positions at Travelocity including Jeffrey Glueck (Chief Marketing Officer), Tracey Weber (President, North America), Josh Hartmann (Chief Technology Officer) and Jonathan Perkel (Senior Vice President and General Counsel).
In 2005, Travelocity acquired lastminute.com for £577 million. The acquisition included allhotels.com, which was founded in 1997 by Richard Irwin, acquired by Online Travel Corporation (OTC) in 2002 for £1.4 million, and later acquired by lastminute.com in 2004.
In April 2011, president and CEO Hugh Jones moved to a position at Sabre and Gilt Groupe president Carl Sparks was brought in as president and CEO of Travelocity. Sparks had been general manager of Hotels.com and was previously chief marketing officer of Expedia.
In December 2012, Travelocity sold Zuji to Webjet for $25 million.
In August 2013, Expedia Inc. announced an agreement with Travelocity to power its United States and Canadian websites.
In May 2014, CEO Carl Sparks stepped down from his position as CEO of Travelocity. After the departure of Sparks, Roshan Mendis, President of Travelocity was named to manage operations of Travelocity's operations in the Americas, while Matthew Crummack, CEO of lastminute.com was named to manage operations in Europe.
In November 2015, Travelocity hired Assembly in New York to handle US media. Until then, media had been handled by Publics Groupe's Zenith Media.
In December 2015, Travelocity relaunched its Travel for Good program that offers a $5,000 grant for a selected volunteer to participate in volunteer travel programs with various nonprofit organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Globe Aware, and the American Hiking Society.
In February 2016, Travelocity launched its new Wander Wisely advertising campaign featuring the Roaming Gnome and the Travelocity Customer First Guarantee. The tagline was also changed from "Go and Smell the Roses" to "Wander Wisely."
In July 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation fined Travelocity $180,000 after discovering that Travelocity's "flexible dates tool" did not always include fuel surcharges that were part of many international airfares in violation of the Department's rules requiring all carrier-imposed surcharges and fees to be included in every advertised fare. In addition, the DOT found that the customer was informed only on the final page before purchasing the ticket that some itineraries required a paper ticket with a minimum additional delivery fee of $29.95.
In August 2012, Travelocity faced a viral controversy when it offered a $200 coupon code to attendees at the National Federation of the Blind annual conference in Dallas. After the NFB posted the code on Twitter without mentioning the attendee restriction, Travelocity re-tweeted it without noticing the error but deleted the tweet a day later. After some travel blogs and message boards resposted the code, many ineligible travelers used the code. Travelocity responded by cancelling all trips that used the code who were not on the list of attendees at the NFB annual conference. This resulted in a barrage of complaints from customers angry to see their trips suddenly cancelled.
- The Amazing Race. U.S. sponsor.
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