23 June 2021

Travel Tech Talks – an open discussion with Marsel Kalemi, Founder & CEO of Kalemi B2B Online Booking System

We’ve invited Marsel Kalemi the CEO and founder of Kalemi Travel Group for an honest discussion about the last years’ activity, about having a travel company in Albania and providing travel technology to its customers. We appreciated his true reply and his desire to conquer the market and educate travel businesses in using up-to-date technology.

Claudia wbe.travel: Can you introduce Kalemi B2B Online Booking System to us and tell us about your travel tech experience?
Marsel Kalemi: Kalemi B2B was born almost 3 years ago when I was first introduced to wbe.travel. Frankly speaking, I was not looking for a tech house to build for us a booking system, but I was looking for software to manage the travel agency that I run, software to manage the tours that we organized.

I found wbe.travel totally by chance. I had a skype call with Mr. Radu, who introduced me to wbe.travel, what you do and why you do it. It was the first time for me that I heard about this kind of travel tech. That small meeting with Mr. Radu gave me a new business idea that I loved immediately: using the technology offered by wbe.travel, I could help other travel agencies and tour operators succeed. This became the mission of Kalemi B2B.

I spent the next years studying the travel tech, XMLs, APIs, the players in the market, what they did, how they did it and how we could benefit from them to continue our mission. I am relatively new in this travel tech, but my passion made me a fast learner which resulted in a 700% rise in bookings in the second year in the market.

 

Claudia wbe.travel: What makes Kalemi B2B Online Booking System unique in the travel market?
Marsel Kalemi: Running a very successful travel agency and tour operator for more than 10 years, serving 30,000+ travelers per year, the team behind Kalemi B2B has all the knowledge and expertise on what our clients need for the day-to-day operations. We know exactly their pressure when their customers call them to report a problem with their reservations, we have been there, and we feel them. The great support that we give them, the advice on what to tell their customers while on hold, the solutions that we give, make us unique in the travel market.

 

Claudia wbe.travel: What services is or will your business be famous for?
Marsel Kalemi: We started as an accommodation wholesaler by having a portfolio of accommodations from the major BedBanks + some major local wholesalers. We have got a 700% increase in business in our second year of operations.
Recently we have richened our services by integrating flight consolidators and rent a car service. We are planning to launch other services like transfers, excursions to offer our clients a full package of services.

 

Claudia wbe.travel: Why did you choose wbe.travel software services? And what software products did you acquire from wbe.travel? Or what do you plan to add next to your tech portfolio?
Marsel Kalemi: All the tech companies in the world can offer software services. This is what they do. I do not see any difference between them. I chose wbe.travel because I felt that we shared the same values and mission. wbe.travel was not trying to sell me a product or service, but it was helping me to become successful.

We have acquired from wbe.travel some products like B2B booking platform, Corporate Booking tool, Mid and Back office, B2C booking system, and the product that I am more obsessed with, Business Intelligence – I love it. The latest service that we acquired was XML OUT. This was a goal reached as in only 2 years in the market, we became competitive enough for one of our clients to integrate us in their booking system.

 

Claudia wbe.travel: How did you cope with Coronavirus affecting your business and how do you see the impact of the previous year on the future business?
Marsel Kalemi: 2020, even it was a very difficult year for our industry, surprisingly, it had a good impact on me and our company culture. From the first day of establishment, Kalemi had seen a rapid increase in all areas of its operation. We never had enough time to carefully think, plan, organize and reflect. 2020 gave us that time that we were missing to do everything that we couldn’t do on our roller-coaster business life cycle. So, I can say that Coronavirus had a positive impact on our company.
Anyway, we can still feel the negative impact on turnover, but I think that this year will be a good lesson for us and everyone in our industry for the future. It made us stronger and aware of unpredictable threats that we might face. This year taught us that we need to be more careful about giving credits on goodwill and carefully plan our long-term investment. For me, the previous year was not a threat, but an opportunity, an opportunity to become stronger for the future.

Claudia wbe.travel: What are your plans for the near future of your business? What problems or gaps would you like to solve for travel companies in the near future?
Marsel Kalemi: Our short-term objective is to purchase the Contracting and Extranet tool from wbe.travel and start to increase our inventory with direct contracted hotels. Our long-term objective is to have contracting offices in our top sold destinations.
Continuing our mission of helping our clients to be successful, we are planning to offer all the travel products to our customers from a single booking platform. In this way, they will not have to search from many platforms to fulfill their customer’s needs. They will find everything they need on one platform only.

Claudia wbe.travel: Do you have any advice for the new travel businesses just starting?

Marsel Kalemi: Do what you do with love and passion. Success will follow!

 

About Kalemni Travel & Tours and it B2B Booking Engine

Kalemi’s journey in the travel industry started with the opening of Hotel Kalemi in Albania in 1995. 10 years later the foundation of Kalemi DMC started with the desire to celebrate Albania, its people and their culture and was focus mainly on incoming tours in Albania and the Balkans.  In 2011, as the locals started more and more traveling the management of the company wanted to add the outbound segment to its business and built Kalemi Tour Operator.

In 2015, after 20 years of rich experience in the travel sector, Kalemi acquired its B2B Booking Platform and became an international online wholesaler. Its reservation system provides major types of travel products as airfare and flight ticket reservation, worldwide hotel reservation, airport transportation and also sightseeing tours with special and private rates. Nowadays Kalemi Travels’ business is constantly growing and diversifying its offering by using more and more tech solutions from wbe.travel.

We are very proud to have the double awarded travel company for Albania’s Leading Travel Agency as our client and partner. You can discover more about Kalemy’s B2B Booking Platform and whole portfolio of services here or ask us directly at sales@wbe.travel.

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