Having doubled in size in just the last few years, BookIt.com is finally in a place big enough to house the talent needed to operate a serious contender in the web travel booking industry. Originally in the Poeple’s First building at the intersection of Middle Beach Road and R Jackson Blvd, they were bursting at the seams with absolutely no room for expansion. In a permanent home, everyone from the owner down to the call center reps are finally comfortable in a cutting edge, modern designed facility.
Being technology driven, I think it’s great that we have such a strong contender in the technology world employing over 350 people in Panama City Beach, Florida. One of the managers mentioned that they are already at capacity and planning future expansion. Someone asked me yesterday who all the people working there were. 203 of them are call center representatives with approximately half of them for customer service and the other half booking agents. Good for them for not outsourcing that to a foreign country.
Another perk to the new facility is their state-of-the-art training room. Before they only had room to train around 6 people at a time, now they can train around 30 at a time. Each trainee has their own computer workstation and phone that’s exactly like the one they’ll use when they get “in the field,” so as to prevent “culture shock” as one of the trainers put it. Training lasts between 2 and three weeks, depending on what and who they are training.
The BookIt site is a completely custom site developed onsite and hosted in two locations for redundancy, both outside of our area. One of the data centers is in Dallas, TX.
BookIt’s booking portfolio ranges in Florida from the panhandle to Miami, but the bulk of their business is in the Caribbean.
With people on staff almost around the clock, they are open 365 days a year and only closed 5 hours each day. This leaves them open from 7 am to 2 am central time Monday through Friday and 8:30 am to midnight Saturday and Sunday.
With BookIt being one of the larger employers in our area, it’s great to have them in Panama City Beach. This is a business that would work anywhere, but because Bud Finlaw’s loyalty and dedication to our area, we get to drive by and see their beautiful building each day. Their grand opening was this week and they look forward to many years of growth and booking vacations for relaxation starved travelers.