Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 8 Number 2 1991 pp. 53-79

Information Technology at Rosenbluth Travel: Competitive Advantage in a Rapidly Growing Global Service Company

Clemons, Eric K and Row, Michael C

ABSTRACT: Over the past ten years, Rosenbluth Travel has grown from a regional travel agency with $40 million in annual sales to one of the five largest travel agencies in the United States, with sales of $1.3 billion. Their strategy was based on exploiting the structural changes initiated by airline deregulation in 1978, including growth of the corporate travel market and increasing economies of scale leading to consolidation. Information technology (IT) was a fundamental part of this strategy. The case sheds light on several theories on gaining competitive advantage through IT; these theories feature technology leadership, leveraging critical resources, the role of IT infrastructure, and switching costs. While these theories contribute to an explanation of Rosenbluth's success, a critical factor appears to be the vision to see an opportunity and the ability to hustle to exploit it.

Key words and phrases: business history, information systems for competitive advantage, strategic information systems, travel industry