Hands-on ownership helps Directravel weather industry slump

//August 21, 2009

Hands-on ownership helps Directravel weather industry slump

//August 21, 2009


While a long-term slump in the travel business combined with a recession, Mahwah-based Directravel has managed to build a strong business serving other businesses.

The company focuses on the New Jersey-New York-Connecticut area, where more than 75 percent of its clients are located, according to managing director Edward A. Vitti.

The company made $352 million in sales last year, making it one of the country’s 10 largest corporate travel agencies, said Vitti, whose father, Vincent E. Vitti, founded the company in 1980 and continues to serve as chairman and chief executive officer.

Directravel focuses on companies that spend between $500,000 and $15 million in annual travel expenses. It provides an on-site staff member for some companies, with roughly 80 of its 304 employees working at client offices where they “become like an employee,” Edward Vitti said.

“It allows the travel counselor and the company employees to get to know each other,” he said. This year has been challenging, with revenue down roughly 20 percent, though Edward Vitti said other corporate travel agencies are doing worse.

When his father started the business, he had 40 workers who focused on providing services by telephone. Not only has the company grown, the son said, but it has become more efficient, allowing it to stay ahead of a curve that has remade its industry.

E-mail to [email protected]