Trailblazing DMC portal based on tech and trust

Amidst global pandemic, ALBORAQ and 21infinity launch a global travel portal for the emerging Saudi Arabian tourism.

By 21infinity BJ, Alboraq (Alain) with support of GZ.

Updated 11:00 am CEST, October 19, 2020


As a multiservice Travel Company, ALBORAQ offers a wide range of guided tours and excursions throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since 2012. The company employs 18 people and offers a full range of related travel and tourism products, from Destination Management to Travel Management, Retails, VIP and MICE. The average annual revenue of ALBORAQ is M10 USD.

Historic shift opens window of opportunity

Before 2020, Saudi Arabian tourist market relied on the domestic individual, corporate and expat community as clients. At the turn of the year, the Kingdom made a significant political shift by introducing tourist visas. This historic change opened a new chapter in the history of ALBORAQ, Saudi Arabia’s leading tour operator.

At the turn of 2020, with Alain as the CEO, ALBORAQ upscaled its internal structure and shifted from B2B and B2C domestic-only to international exposure. However, with new business opportunities ahead, the operator wanted to prepare for potentially fierce market competition fueled by foreign investors. The only way to secure ALBORAQ’s leading market position was through smart IT solutions.

Technological partnership based on trust

Inspired by other global DMC solutions, CEO Alan El Khoury decided to build a travel management portal dedicated to the specific needs of the Saudi Arabian market. The country has different domestic policies for travels and less tourist infrastructure than in other popular tourist destinations. Therefore, simply customizing an out-of-the-box solution was counter-effective. ALBORAQ required a dedicated solution, with region-specific features.

Seeking a cost-effective way to build a customized system, Alan El Khoury decided to partner with his trusted partner and friend, Bart Juszczak, Founder of 21infinity, a software house with extensive travel industry experience.

For Alain El Khoury, effective communication and trust were at least at 50% importance for the success of this project. And since he had previous, first-hand experience of working with Bart as head in a technological project in Saudi Arabia, the choice was natural.

“I chose 21infinity team because they are professionals who understand the jargon and specific needs of the travel industry. I’s like taking your car to a mechanic. Without a trusted technology partner, you could fail and not even understand what went wrong.”

– Alan El Khoury, CEO ALBORAQ

For 21infinity, a long-standing partner of a major global player in the TMC industry, partnering with ALBORAQ was a great opportunity.

“This project leveraged our travel and tourism development experience, but first and foremost, allowed creating a customizable digital product.”

– Bart Juszczak, 21infinity Founder

Versatile portal development with cross-domain support

The technological partnership between ALBORAQ and 21infinity focused on building a cost-effective B2C/B2B e-commerce portal dedicated to the travel, leisure and MICE industry.

“Built using NopCommerce, the new solution would be not only agile and scalable, but also easily adaptable to future needs and contexts of tour operators worldwide.”

– Bart Juszczak, 21infinity Founder

The project was divided into agile milestones. After two months, when the dedicated website was launched, the teams of ALBORAQ and 21infinity focused on back-office processes. This phase was 4-5 months long, and included setting up solutions for future cooperation with B2B and B2C partners, as well as payments. The third phase, two-month long was dedicated to solutions that allow dynamic selling of DMC services.

One of the challenges in the project was modelling DMC-specific business processes. ALBORAQ sells travel experience in the form of packages which include a number of individual travel services: accommodation, transport, sightseeing, etc. The features of the packages must be easily modified for B2C and B2B, including domestic and international currencies.

“The travel product lifecycle processes modelled by 21infinity will be used in both digital and non-digital channels. ALBORAQ is expecting to reach full operational capacity as soon as international tourist flights are restored following COVID-19.”

– Alan El Khoury, CEO ALBORAQ

A digital gateway to global tourism

The portal created in technical partnership with 21infinity aggregates over 200 DMC and tour operators worldwide. The solution allows ALBORAQ to offers the most competitive and unique trip experience packages to more than 80 destinations worldwide. Its extensive, service-oriented CRM offers a single panel, with one-click access to all functionalities for both external and internal clients.

“In day-to-day work, international tour operators, mostly from Europe and the US, book their clients’ trips around the Kingdom using ALBORAQ’s system. The solution also acts as the selling point for contacting and supporting the end client, i.e. individual travelers.”

– Alan El Khoury, CEO ALBORAQ

In the future, ALBORAQ plans to target the international B2C market, and ultimately shift from domestic to international B2B, i.e. global tour operators. The system created by 21infinity will then be used to book and process orders from long-term contractors, at offer special rates.

On the tide of Saudi Arabia’s shifting policies and digitalization, ALBORAQ aims to become no. 1 travel agency in the Kingdom in three years. Their growth plan is to become an operating hub for other domestic DMCs, to connect with international tour operators via the platform. The technology will be made available to the smaller agencies on a commission basis.

Project fact sheet

Time: 10 months

Type: Custom development

Market: Global, GCC

Technologies used: .NET, NOP Commerce

No. of participants: 12

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