American Airlines began offering customer access to its electronic reservation system, Sabre, in 1978 to travel agencies, and in the mid-1980s on CompuServe and GEnie to consumers under the “eAAsySabre” brand name. This service was extended to America Online in the 1990s. The CEO of the eAAsySabre was Kathy Misunas.
Travelocity was created in 1996 as a subsidiary of Sabre Holdings and was run by long-time Sabre information technology executive Terry Jones. As one of the pioneers of web-based disintermediation, Travelocity.com was the first website that allowed consumers the ability 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 popularity after a 1999 partnership with AOL.
In 2000, Sabre negotiated a merger of Travelocity with 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 March 2002, Sabre consummated a tender offer for the remainder of the outstanding shares in Travelocity and re-acquired the brand. Jones left the company shortly afterward, in May 2002.
In March 2002, Travelocity acquired last minute travel specialist Site59.com.The CEO and founder of Site59, 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.Many members of Peluso’s former management team at Site59 were appointed to senior management positions at Travelocity including Jeffrey Glueck (Chief Marketing Officer), Tracey Weber (President, North America), Josh Hartmann (Chief Technology Officer) and Jonathan Perkel (Senior Vice President and General Counsel).
In 2004, Travelocity introduced an advertising campaign known as “Where Is My Gnome?”.
In 2005, Travelocity acquired lastminute.com for £577 million. The acquisition included allhotels.com, which was founded in 1997 by Richard Irwin, acquired by Online Travel Corporation (OTC) in 2002 for £1.4 million, and later acquired by lastminute.com in 2004.
In January 2009, CEO Michelle Peluso announced her resignation and was replaced by Sabre executive Hugh Jones.
In April 2011, president and CEO Hugh Jones moved to a position at Sabre and Gilt Groupe president Carl Sparks was brought in as president and CEO of Travelocity. Sparks had been general manager of Hotels.com and was previously chief marketing officer of Expedia.
In December 2012, Travelocity sold Zuji to Webjet for $25 million.
In June 2013, Travelocity Business, a corporate travel agency, was sold to Atlanta, Georgia-based BCD Travel.
In August 2013, Expedia Inc. announced an agreement with Travelocity to power its United States and Canadian websites.
In November 2013, Travelocity shut down its IgoUgo website.
In May 2014, CEO Carl Sparks stepped down from his position as CEO of Travelocity. After the departure of Sparks, Roshan Mendis, President of Travelocity was named to manage operations of Travelocity’s operations in the Americas, while Matthew Crummack, CEO of lastminute.com was named to manage operations in Europe.
In December 2014, Travelocity sold lastminute.com to Swiss-based Bravofly Rumbo for £76 million.
In January 2015, Travelocity was sold by Sabre Corporation to Expedia, Inc. for $280 million.
In November 2015, Travelocity hired Assembly in New York to handle US media. Until then, media had been handled by Publics Groupe’s Zenith Media.
In December 2015, Travelocity relaunched its Travel for Good program that offers a $5,000 grant for a selected volunteer to participate in volunteer travel programs with various nonprofit organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Globe Aware, and the American Hiking Society.
In February 2016, Travelocity launched its new Wander Wisely advertising campaign featuring the Roaming Gnome and the Travelocity Customer First Guarantee. The tagline was also changed from “Go and Smell the Roses” to “Wander Wisely.”