Six months since the launch of Travelocity's "Customer Championship" program, featuring the innovative Travelocity Guarantee and the Customer Bill of Rights, the company's team of employees worldwide continues to be at the forefront of redefining travelers' expectations from their travel provider. Approximately 39,000 team hours have been invested in technology and training programs, resulting in more immediate and proactive care for Travelocity customers in every aspect of the trip, whether helping customers through a major weather disturbance or simply advising them of an airline switching over to a new airport terminal.

And the travel industry and business community have taken notice. Fast Company magazine recently named Travelocity a recipient of a 2005 "Customers First Award" and in a ceremony at New York City's Museum of Modern Art on Thursday Nov. 3, Travelocity will be one of only ten "forward-thinking companies who have demonstrated real innovation over the past 12 months," to receive an "Extra Mile Award" from Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine.

"Earlier this year we made a promise to our customers that we would be revamping how we work with them, from shopping and buying, through the experience of their trip, and even after they return home," said Michelle Peluso, Travelocity president and CEO. "To see that our work is resonating with customers, suppliers and other industry insiders continues to motivate our team, but we still feel like there's so much more to accomplish."

Helping Customers During Inclement Weather

During the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, Travelocity has been unyielding in its commitment to advise and inform travelers of their options and work with them and suppliers to change travel plans when necessary, as quickly and easily as possible. Since July, Travelocity's customer care team has proactively called and e-mailed tens of thousands of customers with travel plans to the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Florida Peninsula, Mexico and the Caribbean when a tropical storm or hurricane has loomed. Simultaneously, Travelocity has been in close contact with airline, hotel, car rental and cruise line partners and provided constant updates via the Travelocity homepage regarding the policies each of these suppliers has put in place when a tropical storm or hurricane has threatened. In some cases, a dedicated team of Travelocity customer care representatives has continued to work with customers whose travel plans were affected beyond the initial impact of the storm. And as the hurricane season now gives way to winter weather also prone to wreak havoc with travel plans, Travelocity customers can book with confidence knowing that its customer care team will continue to be by their side.

'Customer Championship' Goes Beyond Inclement Weather

While inclement weather provides a top-of-mind example of how Travelocity's Customer Championship initiatives are making a difference for Travelocity customers, the broader reach of the program goes much deeper. For instance, recently an airline advised the Travelocity team of a terminal switch it was making at one of the airports it serves. Rather than risking possible travel complications or confusion among impacted customers, the Travelocity team, engrained in the mindset of Customer Championship, saw this as an opportunity to proactively inform customers and eliminate the possibility for any confusion once they had embarked upon their trips. The impacted passengers were identified and hundreds of messages were sent to give them notice of the potentially confusing terminal change. Additionally, Travelocity has contacted thousands of other customers on situations such as hotels under construction, pool closures, hotel name changes and cruise port changes.

"For Travelocity it's as mission-critical to work hard to keep our customers in the know regarding the seemingly 'little things' as it is for us to reach them regarding widely reported events," Peluso continued. "You never know when a bit of information like an airline operating out of a new terminal might be the difference between a customer making or missing a flight or connection. As we continue to grow and evolve our mindset of Customer Championship, we know that nailing down details such as this is how we will truly delight our customers and gain their ongoing loyalty and trust."

Helping Travelers on the Road More Quickly and Efficiently

The Travelocity team understands the inconvenience of a lengthy wait to talk to a live customer service representative, especially once the trip has begun and the traveler needs immediate assistance. To make sure Travelocity's customers who are on the road receive the help they need as soon as possible, Travelocity implemented Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology that routes travelers who are mid-trip and need immediate assistance to the group of agents best equipped to resolve their on-the-road problems.

To date, more than 120,000 mid-trip calls have been handled since the launch of Customer Championship, with more than 88 percent of these calls answered within 60 seconds or less. Additionally, the independent Customer Respect Group's "Third Quarter 2005 Online Customer Respect Study," measuring corporate performance from an online customer's perspective, ranked Travelocity highest among all third-party travel sites and listed the company among only eight other Web sites that achieved an "excellent" rating.

"We realize that unexpected problems can arise for travelers once they set out on their journeys," Peluso said. "What we've become especially passionate about is preventing these inconveniences from mushrooming into situations that will mar the entire vacation for our customers. There is simply no excuse for this and we remain committed to ensuring that precious time spent on vacation is just that. That is truly Customer Championship."