Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Announces Closing Of Okmulgee Reservations Center
Increase in Online Bookings Dictates Change
Executive Director - Corporate Comm.
TULSA, OKLAHOMA, July 16, 2003: Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:DTG) today announced it will close its Reservations Center located in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. The employees affected by this closing will be directed where possible to alternate employment opportunities that may exist either at DTG’s Tulsa or Tahlequah, Oklahoma, Reservations Centers.
The Okmulgee facility, which opened in 1998, currently has just under 80 employees including hourly and salaried staff. DTG officials met with the Okmulgee employees today to announce the pending closing and to provide job transfer, job search and benefit information. Company officials said that the facility will not close until September 18.
“Closure of a facility is always a painful process, however, we realize that the world changes, “ Don Himelfarb, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer, Marketing, Franchising and Administration, said. “A successful business strategy dictates that we, too, must change, or get left behind. The good news is that we are redeploying our assets in Oklahoma, which, over time, will result in new jobs either in Tulsa or Tahlequah.”
Himelfarb emphasized that the closure of the Okmulgee facility is not DTG’s reaction to a difficult market environment or a distressed financial condition. “This is a singular proactive decision to ensure our company remains the best performer in our industry and is limited to our Okmulgee telephone operations center,“ Himelfarb said.
Committed to continuing its strong workforce presence in Oklahoma, DTG has 1,500 of its over 6,000 worldwide employees based in the state. Of the publicly held companies based in Oklahoma, DTG ranks as one the top 10 employers in the state.
“The Okmulgee Thrifty Reservations Center and its employees have been valuable assets to us over the past five years,” Himelfarb said. “Unfortunately, the telephone operations center there is no longer necessary due to the enormous amount of reservations that now are personally booked by travelers using the Internet. “
During 2002, 45 percent of all rental car reservations made with DTG’s brands, Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental, were generated via the Internet. Those reservations were booked through the company’s own Web sites, dollar.com and thrifty.com, as well as other popular travel sites including Expedia, Travelocity, Southwest Airlines and Orbitz. “Overall, our Internet reservations grew by 46 percent during 2002,” Himelfarb said, “and we expect that trend to continue.”
Despite the surge in Internet reservations, DTG remains committed to customers who prefer the one-on-one assistance that can be attained while speaking with a reservations agent. The company’s worldwide reservation center in Tulsa, as well as the reservation center located in Tahlequah, will continue to provide personal service to customers from around the world on a 24 hours per day, seven days a week basis.
“Operating two reservation centers is a key part of DTG’s strategy, Himelfarb said, because they both are critical components of the company’s customer service commitment and our disaster recovery readiness plan.”
Dollar Thrifty’s willingness to reposition its assets has earned the company a reputation of being a proactive and growing New York Stock Exchange-listed company. The company recently was added to the prestigious Fortune 1000 list of elite businesses. DTG has led its industry in pre-tax profit margin for the past three years and was the only airport-focused car rental company to record a first quarter profit in 2003.
“DTG enjoyed being part of the Okmulgee community for almost five years, and we appreciate the positive work ethic and close proximity to Tulsa that first took us there,” Himelfarb said. “We will work diligently with these valued employees to find other employment opportunities, either within DTG or with other Oklahoma employers.”
About Dollar Rent A Car
Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc., a Fortune 1000 Company, is headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and has approximately 6,000 worldwide employees. Focused on being the low-cost provider in the car rental industry, the company’s brands, Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental, serve value-conscious leisure travelers in more than 70 countries. With operations at most major airports, Dollar and Thrifty have approximately 800 corporate and franchised locations in the United States and Canada. Additional information can be found by visiting dtag.com.