Special Thanks: Zac Harker, Ana Cristina Pereira Teixeira, and Megan McDonell
Orbitz Worldwide is a leading global online travel company that uses innovative technology to enable leisure and business travelers to search for, plan and book a broad range of travel products and services including airline tickets, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages. Their corporate culture is based on leadership, open environment, communication and teams working together. They imitate Silicon Valley, and bring it to Chicago.
Innovation is present everywhere within Orbitz. They innovate within the company, and through the use of competitors. They are constantly looking to see how they can improve their own technologies, and what is best for the customer. Their software is designed to scale effectively, and they have multiple localized sister-sites to better fit the international customer base.
The focus of Orbitz is to provide services for customers that are better than their competitors. To innovate their product, they use the Agile method and release content regularly. They constantly push out changes, occasionally to targeted audiences, and watch data graphs and representations in real-time to see how the changes cause a reaction. Then, they will roll back smoothly should it be a downturn of activity. They also watch for bot usage and monitor how much data they consume, so they can optimize to minimize their impact. Another way that they innovate is through Hackathons, which they hold once a month. They collaborate as a group, share information, and new ways of thinking. Orbitz works in sprints, and get projects done in chunks.
To innovate their process and structure, they flattened the hierarchy chain of command by a factor to allow more room for changes to occur. Although they are not in Silicon Valley themselves, they understand that they are making strides by allowing more risks to be taken than traditional corporate operation. Because of this, as well as low-profile cubicle walls, they strongly encourage cooperation through communication within the company so different teams get additional feedback and feel more open to talk. They monitor weather and air traffic reports to make sure itineraries are on schedule, and send out notifications if there are predicted and/or expected delays.