Michelle Peluso: Thinking out of the box
June 30, 2008: Michelle Peluso, CEO of Travelocity, has been a powerful force in smoothing the way for millions to book travel online. Widely credited with turning around a struggling Travelocity, Peluso earned a spot on such lists as the Wall Street Journal ‘s “Top 50 Women to Watch” and Fast Company ‘s “Fast 50” for her business savvy and innovator’s eye.
In this Forbes article she shares some interesting insides on her motivation and the way she manages Travelocity.
“Expedia and its competitors had built out a really smart, simple model with hotels that was based on faxing reservation requests to hotels--and they had huge traction. But we knew if we were just going to copy Expedia and the other travel sites, that wasn’t going to be enough. So we went to the hotels and said, what don’t you like about the travel sites’ model? Where are you frustrated? We heard some of the sites often didn’t pay them for 60 to 90 days, and with faxes, it was really manual and cumbersome for the hotels. We said, great, let us go off and solve these things. We came up with something very different--direct-connect technology and an automated-payment system. It took us longer to launch, but it galvanized hotels very quickly. Had we just followed the Expedia model--and there was lots of pressure from Wall Street for us to do just that--I don’t think we would have ultimately ended up in a good place.”