Outbound Call Center Featured Article

Priceline.com to Open Customer Contact Center in Michigan

August 07, 2008

Priceline.com announced the signing of a long-term lease as part of its plan to move forward with the establishment of a new customer contact center in Wyoming, MI, just southwest of Grand Rapids.

Famously represented by celebrity spokesman William Shatner, priceline.com is a global online travel service that has been able to turn its brand into a household name. The service launched in 1998 and in 2007, generated $4.8 billion in gross travel bookings.

According to Priceline.com, the new Michigan call center will occupy 45,670 square feet of an existing office building. The customer contact center will provide support for customers making hotel reservations through Booking.com, priceline.com’s international business unit.

Priceline.com is positioning Booking.com, an Amsterdam-based company, as Europe’s largest and fastest growing hotel reservation service.

While the establishment of the contact center in the U.S. is a great boost for the local economy and a testament to the benefits that it can provide, the one question that may linger is will the center service European customers and will they be put off by talking to American agents?

The planned facility is expected to house credit control operations and writers, translators and editors who are responsible for generating content for Booking.com’s websites, which are available in 18 languages in 65 countries. Headquartered in Connecticut, priceline.com operates other call centers in the U.S., as well as overseas.

“One reason Michigan was selected is that it has a sizeable pool of talented professionals who possess the specific and wide-ranging skills required for the various functions of the call center,” said Jeffery H. Boyd, priceline.com’s President and Chief Executive Officer, in a Thursday statement.

To encourage the company to bring the center to Michigan, priceline.com has received state and local incentive packages. In addition, local business development firms played a key role in bringing the center to Michigan and are helping the company to staff and occupy its new facility. These firms include West Michigan economic development organization The Right Place Inc. and Harrington Consulting Group.

Priceline.com provides online travel services in 21 languages in more than 60 countries in Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Aside from priceline.com, the company also operates Booking.com and Agoda.com, an Asian online hotel reservation service.

The market for online travel planning and booking services has grown considerably in the ten years since priceline.com first launched, generating significant competition. To ensure that it can continue to grow, the company must ensure that it delivers a higher level of service than its competition. The establishment of its new call center will help contribute to this strategy.

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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan�s articles, please visit her columnist page.

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