HISTORY OF SANTA BARBARA TRAVEL
Santa Barbara Travel was founded by Bertie de L’Arbre in 1947 following his service with the United States Army and the O.S.S. in World War II. Prior to the war Bertie was a banker living in Brussels, Belgium. When he moved to Santa Barbara he saw a need for travel services and opened the company at its current location in the downtown district. The company has been headquartered there ever since. As an accomplished world traveler at an early age Bertie provided invaluable knowledge and experience to the growing, and affluent, Santa Barbara community. His travels had taken him around the world and his expertise quickly established him as the expert for trip planning. Over the years the company added staff and expanded its portfolio to include corporate travel services and created a separate, specialized team to focus on that business. Today, the suite of services includes not just highly trained travel advisors but also an array of technology that provides online booking capabilities, reporting and analytics, global traveler security and a variety of other valuable benefits.
The company also found a demand for its services in the entertainment industry. The need to support detailed and complicated itineraries for last minute travel for television, feature film and musician travel was a perfect match for the skill set that Santa Barbara Travel offered. The company established a team to focus on this expanding part of its business mix in the early 2000s.
Throughout the years Bertie played a key role in the focus and services that the company provided to its clients. His exacting nature and high standards set the tone for future success. In 1974 Bertie’s oldest son, Charles joined the company. Charles’ passion for travel was immediately apparent and he followed in his father’s footsteps. An energetic and accomplished traveler himself, Charles has an encyclopedic memory for almost everything travel related. When Bertie retired from the business in 1980, Charles assumed responsibilities for the day to day management and direction of the company.
That same year Bertie’s youngest son, David, joined the company. Initially, the focus was on upgrading the accounting and reporting functions. That has expanded to business development, corporate account management, and marketing.
Today, Santa Barbara Travel still provides the traditional service and advice that was the hallmark of Bertie’s skills. But, the scope and complexity of the services the company offers has expanded exponentially. As the travel industry has changed and evolved so have the demands of customers for new and creative solutions. Santa Barbara Travel has kept pace with those demands and continues to follow the example set by Bertie.