Despite the regional instability and tourism shakiness, Tunisian e-tourism is actually witnessing bright days and is not affected by the market downturns.
In line with this trend, Traveltodo, made by Tunisian Cyberesa, an independant software vendor based in Tunisia, turned into the number one e-tourism online agency in the region.
Founded in 2002, Cyberesa is the technical provider of different devices for e-tourism websites whether on mobile or websites.
“We are above all, a technology provider so we are not impacted by what happens directly to the sector,” Wassim Ghliss, the CEO of Cyberesa told Wamda. His main clients are hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and wholesalers seeking new technologies. "The reason we are still relevant today is because everyone wants to be online,” he added.
Tapping the African market
In order to drive its growth forth, Cyberesa worked on improving its service and efficiency, in addition to tackling new markets.
Two years ago, the company partnered with Amadeus, a large travel technology provider. “This partnership was key to our business as Amadeus, which is a major global distribution system, monopolizes and controls the African airline tickets market,” said Ghliss. Through the deal, Cyberesa was able to penetrate 21 African countries, in addition to other markets in the Middle East. It also expanded its solution offerings to new clients selling airplane seats for instance.
In 2016, Cyberesa signed additional contracts in the Sub-Saharan Africa, in Ivory Coast and Bénin with clients including CBM Voyages Côte d’Ivoire and Groupe Ilda Bénin.
The company also presented a new mobile app called ‘safebooking tour’ for the African Bank of Development in Abidjan. It enables canceling a hotel reservation with an insurance in case of cancellation for hotel owners, directly through the mobile phone.
“The African market is also challenging for us as it is difficult to decipher. The habits and the contexts are different from one country to another,” Ghliss said.
Cyberesa has clients in Libya for instance, where the security situation is still unstable. “But we should not underestimate this market. The Libyans are great consumers. They also travel a lot, so the market has a high potential which could overstep the whole region.”
As for Tunisia, Ghliss is betting on its neighbor. “Algerians are considered to be Tunisia’s first travelers, with 1 to 1.5 million travelers expected in 2017. Thus, we have more potential clients in both Tunisia and Algeria, who are willing to install softwares to facilitate their travels,” said Ghliss.
Not a startup anymore?
The company which has had its profits multiplied by ten over in the last decade (from 2006 to 2016) is not a startup anymore, but still sees itself as one. “We are not a big firm with hundreds of employees, our team consists of 12 employees in our main office in Tunis, we invest a lot in new projects and we try to implement solutions two to three years in advance,” he said. Accordingly, R&D has been a main concern for the company and an objective that the whole team has been committed to achieve.
Improving with Microsoft
One of the projects that Cyberesa undertook was a partnership with Microsoft which smoothed the way Cyberesa presents its platform.The Microsoft Tunisia DX team worked on an online booking solution that automatically allows Cyberesa to service and receive a higher number of users at once.
According to Microsoft Technical case studies : Cyberesa’s online booking platform currently processes over 10,000 bookings a day. Any downtime or slow response would lead customers to refrain from using the site, and altering to different booking options. One hour of downtime in high season could cause a loss of up to 240,000 dollars. This drives the need for a highly available and performing infrastructure.
Fares Zekri, principal technical evangelist at Microsoft said the Cyberesa platform had too many servers and too many clients scattered among them. Thus, more elasticity was needed.
Feature image, view of from a Tunisian hotel, Lilia Blaise.