Lodging call center to close
More than 120 employees of the Choice Hotels contact call center on Orchard Mesa learned Monday that the company plans to close operations here, and that most of them will be out of a job by the end of December.
Choice Hotels said about two dozen positions would be shifting to Phoenix, and that some of the associates being let go would be offered the option to relocate there.
About 40 local sales agents, who currently work from home, will still have a job with a new contract company. A company spokeswoman said those employees would retain their seniority, their base pay and their sales job with the new company.
But for the remainder of the call center employees, it appears they have become victims of a technological shift within the hotel reservation industry. Company spokeswoman Robin Pence referenced the “changing dynamics of the industry” in making the decision to close the Grand Junction operation.
“People are booking their travel-related needs — whether it be booking a reservation or checking on their points for their rewards programs — online and on mobile devices,” Pence said. “That’s really the driver — adapting our business model to align with those changing behaviors.”
At one point, Choice Hotels said the Grand Junction call center — first established in 1989 — was handling 4.5 million reservation calls a year. Pence said that number has been steadily declining year over year.
Pence said more of the company’s call center duties will be handled by French offshore call center provider Teleperformance, which operates 250 contact centers in 49 countries.
She also said the current employees being let go would have the chance to participate in career planning classes, résumé development assistance programs, a virtual job fair and other outplacement assistance. The company also will be offering severance packages to associates not offered jobs in other parts of the company.