Travelocity is an online travel agency and wholly owned subsidiary of Sabre Holdings Corporation, which was a publicly traded company until taken private by Silver Lake Partners and Texas Pacific Group in March 2007. Travelocity is based in Southlake, Texas, with additional offices in New York City, San Francisco, San Antonio and abroad.
According to Sabre Holdings, Travelocity is the sixth-largest travel agency in the United States and the second-largest online travel agency. In addition to its primary US consumer site, Travelocity operates a full-service business agency, Travelocity Business, and comparable websites in Canada, Germany, France, the Scandinavian countries, Mexico, India and the United Kingdom. Sister sites include lastminute.com in Europe and Zuji in Asia. Other brands include World Choice Travel, a travel affiliate marketing program, IgoUgo, an online travel community and travel-planning resource, and AllHotels, an online hotel reservation site.
American Airlines began offering customer access to its electronic reservation system, SABRE, in 1978 to travel agencies, and in the mid-80s on the CompuServe Information Service to consumers under the "EAASY SABRE" brand name. This service was extended to America Online in the 1990s.
Travelocity was created in 1996 as a subsidiary of Sabre Holdings, itself a subsidiary of American Airlines, and was run by long-time Sabre I.T. executive Terrell B. "Terry" Jones. As one of the pioneers of web-based disintermediation, Travelocity.com was the first website that allowed consumers themselves not only to access Sabre's fare and schedule information, but also 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.
Travelocity gained momentum after AOL's travel portal became associated with the brand in 1999. In 2000, Sabre negotiated a merger of Travelocity with another early web travel company, 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 2002, with Travelocity's fortunes suffering from competition including Expedia and Orbitz, Sabre consummated a tender offer for the remainder of the outstanding shares in Travelocity and remerged the business into Sabre as a subsidiary. Jones left the company shortly afterward.
Also in March 2002, Travelocity acquired last minute travel specialist Site59.com. Site59’s CEO and founder, 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.
In 2004, Travelocity introduced "The Roaming Gnome." Voiced by Harry Enfield, the Gnome has been a staple in Travelocity's advertising ever since. The original campaign was invented by Lisa Shimotakahara and Philip Marchington of McKinney & Silver, an advertising agency in Durham, North Carolina. The tagline, "You'll never roam alone", was written by John Guynn, a copywriter at the same agency.
In 2005, Travelocity acquired lastminute.com to take in excess of 30 more brands under its banner in the UK.
Under Peluso’s leadership, Travelocity has developed and launched a merchant hotel business, dynamic packaging functionality, and a private-label (ASP) distribution network, the Travelocity Partner Network. Many members of Peluso’s former management team at Site59 held senior management positions at Travelocity; namely, Jeffrey Glueck (Chief Marketing Officer), Tracey Weber (President, North America), Josh Hartmann (Chief Technology Officer) and Jonathan Perkel (Senior Vice President and General Counsel). On January 8, 2009 the company announced that its CEO, Michelle Peluso would tender her resignation in order to get married and focus on bringing up a family, and that she is being replaced by long-time Sabre Sr. Executive, Hugh Jones.
Travelocity Business is a full-service corporate travel agency that allows companies to plan, buy and manage their travel through its online and offline capabilities. Travelocity Business is owned by Sabre Holdings and is the business arm of the online leisure travel agency Travelocity.