ichelle Peluso, the new
CEO of Travelocity, barely had time to pop into
her new office during the first week in her new post. It just
happened to be the week of Travelocity's quarterly employee
meetings, so two days after the big announcement, she visited
The next day, a Friday, she traveled to the firm's call center
in Plains, Pa., then flew back to Dallas for the company Christmas
party. She left the soiree to hop a flight to New York, arriving at
about 4 a.m. due to the inclement weather, and held the quarterly
meeting on the following Monday.
San Francisco's quarterly meeting on Thursday was the next stop,
followed by a nice restful weekend in New York. By the time you
read this, she will be back in Dallas for a quarterly meeting on
the home front. TC hopes the dynamic Ms. Peluso can sleep on
• • •
Meanwhile, Travelocity moved into its new digs on the
Sabre campus in Southlake, Texas, where employees
say the cafeteria rocks. "Rocking" is not an activity we generally
associate with Sabre, but TC's Texas pals swear it's true.
• • •
Barb Bowden, revenue manager for
Peabody Hotels, entertained delegates at the
opening cocktail party of the Hotel Electronic Distribution
Network Association's (Hedna) conference with a tale of
her first stint as manager on duty at Peabody's Orlando property.
Her first call came from the owner of the hotel, who expressed
great concern over the droppings of the famed Peabody ducks.
"They don't look right," he said. "Could you look into it?" In
the true spirit of hospitality, Bowden did, but fortunately that
did not require personal intervention. The ducks have their own
duckmaster and veterinarian.
• • •
Also at the Hedna gathering, Bruce Small,
Hyatt's director of sales information systems,
gave a perfect example of how technology can slap you with one hand
and soothe you with the other.
When the company made an alteration in its firewall, it began
rejecting all HTML e-mails, which included a great many bookings
funneled to the company via StarCite, the online
Fortunately, Hyatt had developed a direct connection with
StarCite, so not a booking was lost -- they all went directly into
• • •
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group seems
determined to give Four Seasons and
Ritz-Carlton a run for their money. Having deemed
the New York Mandarin Oriental a successful
launch, the firm's location scouts have been spotted inquiring
about real estate in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain; Paris; Prague,
Czech Republic; and Shanghai.
• • •
A couple of swells: As the runway on St. Barts
is being updated, the airport will be shut down for two months next
fall and the majority of the island's hotels said they're closing
for the duration to renovate.
There is ferry service to the island from St. Martin, but a
representative of one upscale property tells us why it's decided to
close anyway: "We didn't want to have to deal with seasick guests
checking in. The passage doesn't look rough, but it's not the waves
-- it's the swells."
• • •
Hong Kong seems to have bounced back, at least
as far as corporate travel is concerned -- its hotels have been
filled the past few months with fashion industry buyers who missed
the early summer season due to the SARS outbreak. And no one could
be happier than executives at the InterContinental Hong
They acquired the property in June 2001 for $346 million, only
to be hit by 9/11. They had finally recovered this February, and
then SARS hit the city.
"Our fingers are crossed that there's nothing waiting around the
next corner," an executive told TC. "Unless, of course, it's the
recovery in leisure."
E-mail Michele McDonald at [email protected].