I like Travelocity for booking my travel plans, whether for business or for personal reasons. Their system works well, and has never caused me any problems. I also happen to really dig their Roaming Gnome mascot, despite the title of this post. He's cute, funny, short, and chubby—not unlike some ale-happy bloggers I could name.
Why the inflammatory title? Because I have had it up to here (picture a suitably high place on my 5'3" corpus as the indicated point) with their brainless "targeted" emails. They're giving perfectly good technology a bad rep, and I wouldn't be surprised if it cost them some business.
Here's the scenario: I travel a few times a year for business, and maybe once or twice for vacation or family obligations. So I log into Travelocity.com to book a flight, and usually nothing else (my hotel rooms are generally seen to by the vendor whose event I'm attending, and there's no need to rent a car.) I make it a point to not fiddle around with the parts of the reservation system I don't wish to take advantage of, buy my ticket, and go along my merry way. Sometimes there are interstitials or pop-ups suggesting hotels, rentals, or entertainment at my destination, but I don't mind these; it makes sense for a company to make offers like that.
So I get my confirmation email. And my ticket information. And reminders about my upcoming trip. A little bit much, but not too abusive of my patience. No, what grinds my gears (thanks, Peter Griffin) is the torrent of Special Flight Deals!!! and Last-Minute Offers!!! and Book This Hotel Or You're Lame!!! emails flooding my inbox, before, during, and after the trip. I have already indicated that I do not want your crap. Leave me alone.
On top of these, the Travelocity CRM system assumes that, because I fly a few times a year, I must be a real jet-setter who will pick up and go at the slightest provocation—that provocation being another email or three from bloody Travelocity, natch. Does anybody really do that? And if they do, are they using Travelocity? I'm thinking no.
It's not like I forgot to opt out of these messages, either—I'm pretty stingy with my eyeball-time, and offers I know I'll never take advantage of don't get the green light from me. It saves money, time, and precious electrons. So clearly there's something horribly wrong with Travelocity's terms of service, for assuming that grumpy dudes like me would look on these cross-sell and upsell opportunities with anything but loathing.
But at least I've figured out why I like the Roaming Gnome, in addition to the reasons stated above. The tortures inflicted on the little schlimazel are cathartic, and prevent me from seeking to visit the same upon customer service reps and the people who compose the emails. Good job, little guy.