Travelocity Names New COO

Online travel operation Travelocity named Michelle Peluso, former chief executive of last-minute travel play Site59, as its new chief operating officer.

She replaces Chris Vasiliou, who has been appointed senior vice president, international at parent company Sabre Holdings .

Peluso had been Travelocity’s senior vice president of product strategy and distribution since it acquired Site59 in March of 2002.

As COO, Peluso is responsible for all lines of business at Travelocity, including air, car rental, hotels, cruises, vacations, packaging, partner marketing, product marketing and operations, Site59 and online distribution.

Also in new posts are Scott Danielson, named senior vice president of marketing, and Rick Welch, who was named senior vice president for customer service and operations. Danielson was president of online travel consultancy Squeezoom LLC. Welch was executive vice president of Cendant Travel Distribution.

Travelocity CEO Sam Gilliland said that the operation’s merchant hotel program and dynamic packaging work are “two of the major initiatives that have resulted” from Peluso’s efforts.

Meanwhile, Travelocity said it commissioned a poll that found that Americans “are shifting their attention to the more traditional vacation — seeing the country and spending time with family and friends” — and showing less interest in travel overseas.

“When considering travel over the next 12 months, it appears Americans have become more inclined to explore their own country and their own back yards rather than exotic international destinations,” said Amy Ziff, Travelocity’s Editor-At-Large.

And the state of the economy apparently is more responsible than the state of the world.

Poll respondents who are undecided or do not intend to travel cited fewer concerns about the safety and inconvenience of travel than in the past; instead, they said that economics and cost are primary considerations.

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