Going back to travel

May 2, 2012 at 9:28 am

When starting at GameStop towards the end of 2010 I posted about all the reasons I was interested in getting into gaming – and while being in the middle of it all at GameStop has been fun, I’ve decided to go back to my first love… Travel.

I’ve met so many people and learned so much since starting at GameStop: retail, merchandising, multichannel, SEO, streaming, social, gamification – just some of the things I’ve been able to gather experience in and be a part of.

I’ve been able to work with gaming’s biggest brands, and have had behind the scenes access to early game info and release information (which for a gamer is really cool!!). I was able to visit IGN’s headquarters, and attend the GameStop Manager Conference, where you hear firsthand from game publishers.

photo 3

I’ve helped launch a number of changes to gamestop.com, a mobile website, and a couple of mobile apps.

But the allure of the never ending stream of travel innovation is calling me back. When Crunchbase has 429 pages of results for travel – there is obviously something interesting going on – technology companies, designers, and startups – travel is in our fabric – no matter where we’re from or what we do.

It amazes me when almost every day I see a new travel startup that promises better organization, cheaper travel, finding that hidden gem, or getting better, more relevant information about your destination. It doesn’t stop. Google and Microsoft are continually getting deeper into the business – no wonder, it’s hard to say away from a 7 trillion dollar industry.

So I’m returning to Sabre, but in a different role. While before my focus was around mostly B2B and Travel Agent software, this time I’m going to be working at Travelocity. Yes, working with the gnome.

Travelocity just had a sweet 16th birthday… Yes a pure .com is 16 years old (take a look). So you can imagine, a company that has been around for 16 years has some challenges – but they’re poised for some great things, and I’m glad to be part of the team making that happen:

“We weren’t moving as fast as we needed to,” CEO Carl Sparks said about newer, nimbler competitors. “We’re 16 and so sometimes we think of ourselves as one of the elderly companies in the space because we were around since its inception. … Yet 16 is quite young for a multibillion-dollar company.”

Since Sparks took the top job a year ago, he and his executive team have refocused the company on hotel products, build-your-own-vacation packages and mobile devices. In February, the company launched its first iPad app, which allows users to book airline tickets, hotels and rental cars from their tablets and offers hotel deals exclusive to its mobile apps.

While industry analysts say Travelocity is still playing catch-up, they are encouraged by Sparks’ initiatives and the disciplined approach he has brought to the company.

http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/03/31/3849461/travelocity-works-to-get-its-magic.html#storylink=cpy

And I need some help. This group has some fun and interesting things ahead – and we’re looking for great User Experience Designers – so let me know if you’re interested. Sabre/Travelocity is a great place to work (I should know, it’s my second time!). Great campus, interesting work (both desktop and mobile), and the largest User Experience community in the area, with around 50+ people in various User Experience and Design positions, and a state-of-the-art Usability facility on-site.

Expect more travel related tweets, and posts – and be sure to share your good and bad travel experiences. We’re here to help :-)

So, with that I’ll leave you with a screenshot of GameStop on roughly the day I arrived, and the day I left: