Family-owned travel agency expands, relocates to Orange
Traveland has relocated here from Shelton to a bigger space, and the three brothers who own it say they’re ready to take customers globe-trotting.
The family business, run by Eitan, Oded and Tamir Battat, was begun in 1978 in Bridgeport by their parents — that office is still open — and recently moved their Shelton office at 878 Bridgeport Ave. to a larger space at 564 Racebrook Road.
“We hear all the time that travel agencies are a relic, but we’re working overtime,” Tamir Battat said.
He said while there are fewer travel agencies all-around, there’s a resurgence of sorts in the business because people don’t know who to trust on the internet in booking travel plans.
He said there’s also a good travel climate because the economy is strong and travel is considered safe because there are no wars going on.
Tamir said they outgrew the office in Shelton. The Orange office, formerly home to a real estate agency, was reconfigured inside.
At a formal ribbon-cutting for the business, First Selectman Jim Zeoli said Traveland is a “great fit” for the location in a residential section of town.
“I’m thrilled you’re here,” he said.
On one wall is a tribute to their parents, who started it all under the holding company Abravio, which represents the names of the Battat brothers’ parents, Abraham and Violet.
The story on the wall says Abraham was a district engineer and city planner in Jerusalem and Violet had a shining career in radio. The couple’s dream was to have a travel agency so they could globe trot. That dream became reality when they opened Traveland in Bridgeport.
Bold travel catalogues line one wall in the spacious, open-floor-plan office, where one side is focused on leisure and the other on group travel, an ever-increasing facet of the business, Tamir Battat said.
There are clocks in several time zones on the wall and a conference room with a globe and jet figure.
Eitan Battat said their specialty is personalized service.
They can send customers anywhere but specialize in travel to Israel, Eastern Europe, luxury cruises, adventure, family travel.
When their parents opened on Main Street in Bridgeport 40 years ago, there were 16 travel agencies within a mile, the brothers said. Today, Traveland is the only one in that mile.
Tamir Battat said it’s a “wonderful” and “challenging business.” He said each day brings something new and there can be tense, adrenalin-charged days when fights or other plans are canceled or changed at the source.
“My wife asks, ‘How was your day?’ and I say, ‘I went around the world,”’ referring to booking varied trips, from an African safari to a trip to Australia.
He said there’s a lot to know about and consider, including geography, psychology, climate, weather, sales.
“You have to have an emotional connection,” including with couples, to “explore their hidden desires” as well as the obvious ones.
Brother Oded loves to travel and does so about 10 days out of each month.
“I like the exploration, visiting new places,” he said. “I need to experience what my customers experience,” to give them the best service.
Oded Battat said there’s also great reward in seeing customers return from vacation “regenerated and with a new vision, new outlook.”
Just before the ribbon was cut, Eitan thanked God, their parents and team members for their success.