Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)




Cheryl Lentz


In 2016, online travel sales increased 8%, resulting in profits increasing to over 565 billion U.S. dollars. Traditional travel agencies in brick-and-mortar storefronts are facing challenges related to competing with online travel agencies (OTAs), attracting new customers, and retaining existing customers. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the e-commerce processes, business models, and strategies that leaders of traditional travel agencies use to compete with OTAs. The study sample consisted of 8 travel professionals from 3 small travel agencies located in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The conceptual framework for this study was Rogers's diffusion of innovation theory. Data for the study were derived from semistructured interviews, review of travel agency documents and websites, and review of interview transcripts. Data analysis and methodological triangulation included coding, organizing, interpreting, and summarizing data to identify themes. Four themes emerged: the effect of e-commerce on travel agents' performance, competing with online travel agencies, marketing strategies to attract and retain customers, and e-commerce processes used in travel agencies. Fifty percent of travel agents' business declined, and performance decreased because customers used OTAs or e-commerce websites to purchase vacations. Travel agents specialized in niche' travel destinations to compete with OTAs. Travel agents differentiated products and services to attract and retain customers. Leaders may use the findings to develop strategies, improve business processes, and profitability, thereby, increasing revenues, creating jobs, and providing income for families.