HANOVER TWP. — Memorial Day means the start to the summer travel season and it’s also a good time to start looking for work at Travelocity’s local customer service center. The online travel booking company has announced it’s looking to fill up to 90 full-time openings by the end of August.
The hiring comes at a time the region’s unemployment rate hovers above 9 percent. And also as the company has seen increased demand from its customers and from affiliated companies it operates websites and travel sites for such as AAA, Royal Bank of Canada and Capital One, said Scott Quigley, Travelocity’s vice president of customer care.
The Southlake, Texas, company, owned by Sabre Holdings Corp., has 190 workers at its 30,000-square-foot center on Hanover Street in the Hanover Industrial Estates and has been a tenant in the park since 2005, when it relocated from Plains Township. With the additional 90 employees it would be close to capacity once again.
At one point, the local center’s workforce was at 300, Quigley said. But the number of jobs declined along with the economy.
But with travel peaking once more and the economy taking a turn for the better, the company is looking to boost local staff. The additional work picked up through the affiliate companies in the Travelocity Partner Network is also playing a significant role in the hiring need.
“There have been ebbs and flows over the years in our head count depending upon the overall state of the economy,” said Joel Frey, a company spokesman. “But over the last four years the growth has been steady and the staffing levels consistent.”
The new hires will be paid $10.25 per hour for a 40-hour week with some weekends but no overnight shifts. Benefits are available and so are monthly bonus incentives, which Quigley said typically add another 20 percent to an employee’s pay.
The job listing and details about how to apply can be found by going to Travelocity.com/jobs and searching by location using Wilkes-Barre.
Travelocity operates one other call center in San Antonio, Texas, which is slightly bigger than the Hanover office. Quigley said the Hanover center has been strong with job retention and advancement.
“We have had some amazing talent that’s been developed at that center,” Quigley said, attributing it to “strong, stable leadership.”
The company is the latest to increase its workforce or announce it will locate and create jobs in the region.
* Sallie Mae, a student loan company with a center in Hanover Township is hiring an additional 100 people.
* American Eagle Outfitters last week announced it was building a 1 million-square-foot distribution center in the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazle Township and will hire more than 350 people once it opens.
* The under-construction Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs hotel in Plains Township will have a job fair next month as it looks to hire 250 people.
While some have criticized the high number of distribution, service and customer service jobs the area attracts, economic development leaders said the region has diversified itself over the years by creating hubs for these types of companies and it has helped the region handle the past recession better than areas that are too reliant on one type of sector.