Orbitz, the yet to be launched mega Web site financed by five major airlines, has announced the appointments of two industry veterans, completing senior management staffing.
Customer service executive David Kielkucki was named vice president of customer service and call center operations. And, branding expert and new economy executive Roland Jacobs was named chief marketing officer for Orbitz.
According to Orbitz CEO Jeffrey Katz, Kielkucki will be responsible for building a “Best of Class” customer service organization, leading the design of innovative customer service plans, and managing day-to-day operational activities to help achieve the overall service objectives of the company.
“I look forward to defining a service plan that differentiates Orbitz from its competition and supports the overall vision of proactive customer care,” Kielkucki said. “Orbitz will allow me to invest in technologies which will bring maximum productivity for superior customer service while ensuring cost saving efficiencies that are necessary for a successful on-line company.”
Prior to joining Orbitz, Kielkucki was a vice president at GetThere.com, an on-line corporate travel provider, where he directed the development and management of its contact support center. Kielkucki established the performance criteria and business practices for www.GetThere.com.
Kielkucki`s “leadership experience in the travel industry and his proven success in implementing innovative customer service solutions will give Orbitz an advantage to ensure customer satisfaction,” Katz said . “David`s extensive management background will also help us to create and apply the personnel strategies and technologies necessary to employ better customer service for the on-line traveler.”
Previously, Kielkucki was senior vice president for customer communications at Alamo Rent-A-Car where he was responsible for overall management of the reservation sales and customer service organizations for the U.S. and England. During his time at Alamo, Kielkucki started the installation of voice and data integration for the reservation sales organization, a program Alamo projected to produce savings of $1.4 million.
Katz said the appointment of Jacobs completes Orbitz` senior marketing team. Jacobs will lead all aspects of marketing, including advertising, off-line and on-line strategy development and CRM; direct the product development team; and, oversee customer care and customer service initiatives.
“Combining the industry`s most powerful airfare search engine and with solid backing from the nation`s leading airlines, Orbitz has all the key ingredients to redefine the customer experience in on-line travel,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs, who has spent the last few years creating marketing plans for Internet companies, recently served as vice president of marketing for www.Petopia.com, where he gained first-hand experience in launching a consumer product Web site and developed marketing strategies vital to increasing the company`s prominence on the Internet.
In directing the marketing department, Jacobs oversaw Petopia`s on-line and off-line advertising, promotions, public relations, direct marketing, market research and management of strategic partnerships. He led the start-up through four rounds of funding and significantly increased the company`s market share position from fifth to second. He also encouraged Petopia`s links with brick-and-mortar retailer Petco to improve market position.
Jacobs previously spent nearly 10 years with the Clorox Co. where he led marketing efforts and developed entry strategies for new product categories for the Clorox brand in 33 countries.
“Roland`s national and international marketing experience, in particular his proven success in raising customer satisfaction while at the same time reducing customer acquisition costs, will be a great asset to Orbitz,” Katz said. “With a depth of experience in old and new economy companies, Roland brings the talents that we need to make Orbitz a success.”
Katz has said Orbitz will be launched in June 2001 and will be a full-service travel Web site “offering consumers the widest selection of low fares in an easy-to-use format.” The early marketing for Orbitz says the company will become the first Web site to offer travelers a comprehensive, unbiased view of fares, schedules and rates for destinations around the world.