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Travelocity Shuts Call Center, Reduces Staff

Travelocity Inc. plans to close a customer service call center in Sacramento and reduce its workforce by 10 percent as the company reported that airline ticket sales remained depressed.

Of the 320 Travelocity employees affected by the cutbacks, 285 worked at the call center in Sacramento. Travelocity will reroute customer service calls through call centers in Texas, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The Sacramento center is scheduled to close Dec. 4. Laid-off workers are being offered employment assistance.

As of the end of September, airline ticket sales were at 70 percent of expected volumes, said Terrell B. Jones, president/CEO of Travelocity, Fort Worth, TX. Because it is too early to determine when sales will return to normal, the company was forced to make cost reductions, he said.

Other staff reductions were in positions other than customer service. Travelocity also announced a hiring freeze and undisclosed cuts in advertising expenditures.

However, there are signs that the online ticketing industry is beginning to rebound. According to Nielsen/NetRatings surveys, Travelocity.com had 1.38 million visitors during the week ending Sept. 9; 969,000 visitors in the week after the attacks; and 1.37 million visitors in the week of Sept. 30.

Travelocity said it would review its third-quarter performance and provide its fourth-quarter outlook on Oct. 17.

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