Marketing Strategies of Small Traditional Travel Agencies in a Technology-Driven World

Charice Hayes, Walden University

Abstract

In 2012, there was a 70% increase in online travel booking, resulting in small traditional brick-and-mortar travel agencies having serious difficulties with obtaining and retaining customers. The purpose of this case study was to explore online marketing strategies that leaders of small traditional travel agencies have used to successfully obtain and retain customers. Technology disruption theory was the conceptual framework of this study. Using criterion sampling, the population for this study consisted of 3 leaders of small traditional travel agencies located in the state of Maryland. Data collection consisted of interviews, observations, and review of documentation, such as displays, websites, business cards, and email campaigns. Data were analyzed using methodological triangulation through inductive coding of phrases and words. The following 4 themes emerged: company threats, online marketing strategies, various marketing strategies for improvement, and ways to compete with Internet-based travel agencies. Results indicated that 66% of participants believed that Internet-based travel agencies were threats. All of the participants used a form of online marketing and believed that customer loyalty helped to compete with Internet-based travel agencies. Positive social change may result when leaders of small traditional travel agencies increase their knowledge of online marketing strategies to obtain and retain customers, thereby leading to greater access to online travel opportunities for all, including physically challenged individuals often confined to their living areas.