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4147 Eastern Ave. SE in Wyoming. 4147 Eastern Ave. SE in Wyoming. MIBIZ FILE PHOTO

New owner to close Wyoming call center acquired from Booking.com

BY Tuesday, November 01, 2022 05:59pm

WYOMING — A Booking.com call center in Wyoming that was acquired by a global customer experience service provider early this year will close and lay off all 226 employees next month, according to filings with the state.

Representatives with Luxembourg-based Majorel filed the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notice with state officials on Monday, indicating 226 permanent layoffs on Dec. 18. The company, acting on behalf of Booking.com, cited “reduced business/work” and “merger/acquisition” as the reason for the closure.

A Majorel official said in an email that the company would issue a statement about the closure “later this week.”

Majorel announced in February of this year that it had acquired 12 of Booking.com’s 14 internal customer experience (CX) service centers in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas. A Majorel statement earlier this year said the move would “enable Booking.com to focus more heavily on strategic areas of competitive advantage, while continuing to deliver world class customer and partner support.”

The Wyoming call center was among the 12 call centers acquired from Booking.com, sources confirmed. Booking.com is the largest brand of Booking Holdings, which reportedly laid off 25 percent of its global workforce in 2020 and 2021 coming out of the pandemic, as well as 2,700 call center jobs this year.

The 101,600-square-foot facility at 4147 Eastern Ave. SE in Wyoming was once a call center target for state and local economic development officials, who saw an opportunity to bring hundreds of good-paying jobs and multilingual workers to the area amid the Great Recession. 

In 2008, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) approved a $3.9 million tax credit to help lure Booking.com’s former parent company, Priceline.com, to launch a presence in Wyoming. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. provided $200,000 in job training assistance while the city of Wyoming approved a seven-year tax abatement worth $1.1 million. The company at the time promised $7.7 million in new capital investments and to create 610 new jobs.

The company told MiBiz in 2008 that more than 30 percent of the customer service agents it hired at the time in Grand Rapids were multilingual. 

In 2014, The Priceline Group Inc. expanded the Wyoming call center facility with an additional 25,000 square feet to accommodate an additional 150 employees, MiBiz previously reported.

Franklin Partners LLC formerly owned the property and invested about $800,000 in tenant improvements at the time.

In April 2019, Franklin Partners sold the property to an affiliate of New Jersey-based Red River Asset Management for $10.25 million, according to property records. Red River also owns 5300 Patterson Ave. SE in Kentwood, which is leased by accounting firm BDO as a business service center.

A Red River Asset Management official could not be reached for comment.

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