Elvis and Doret Kotherja – “Living your dream”

Posted on 16 May 2023

Q1: Was the creation of Elite Travel Group a common idea?

Doreti: (with a smile) Let Elvis, as the youngest, talk about this.

Elvis: Yes, it was. At that time, Redi lived in Tirana. We had a modest business that did not go well. At a certain point, we decided to establish the agency. We did a quick analysis of the market and realized there were not many such businesses at the time. At first, we started by plane and ferry ticketing.

Doreti: Then came car insurance.

Elvis: Yes, and then, around 2000-2001, began the first trips for Albanians moving to the region, mainly to Montenegro.

Q2: Let’s dwell on the analysis you said you did on the market. Did this analysis lead to specializing the agency in the field of tourism, or was e premade decision?

Elvis: It was our desire. But the analysis also showed us there were considerable gaps in the market at the time.

Doreti: Seeing that there was an opportunity to work in tourism, at that time only as ticket agents, we considered it. Moreover, being together, we tried it. I also had previous experience in this field. We must not forget that we had the opportunity to find a place for the ticket office, an obstacle in our beginnings. Then everyone helped us, our parents, friends, and acquaintances. We wanted to be progressive.

Elvis: We had experience.

Doreti: I came with two years of experience in this field.

Q3: I am curious about what you said, that in the beginning, people you knew helped you, your parents’ acquaintances. Can we talk a little bit more about that?

Doreti: At that point in Elbasan, there were only two other agencies, so it was not easy. Friends, relatives, and neighbors, everyone helped us move forward.

Q4: Do you think this says something about you? Such an undertaking for the time can be called a challenge, a risk.

Elvis and Doreti: Our family’s good name helped us a lot.

Doreti: At that time, it was 60-70% of all our work.

Q5: Is it challenging to start a business with your brother? Are you brothers in the office? (In terms of the impact of their relationship at work)

Doreti: Yes, it is difficult for me. We come with different opinions and beliefs. At certain times it’s more difficult to convince me. Elvis may have a clearer idea.

Elvis: Hard, but not too hard. You have to be clear that everyone has to get their priorities right. We are not brothers at work, just colleagues. It does not affect us.

Q6: Who likes to take more risks?

Doreti: (smiles and extends his hand towards Elvis) He is the one.

Q7: How did you hire the first people of Elite Travel Group? How do you feel when colleagues of many years decide to stop their journey at Elite Travel Group?

Elvis: People came up with references.

Doreti: Today is different. Today, we train working teams and young people, not only, and allow them to go through the recruitment stages.

Elvis: We set everything up without a structure.

Doreti: Because there wasn’t any. Regarding the departure of colleagues, of course, it does not make us happy but everyone has their own lives and priorities in focus.

Elvis: And something else. Not everyone understands our vision. Often this becomes a reason.

Q8: Why the vision is the most important element of Elite Travel Group? What was the vision when you founded it?

Elvis: Vision tells us where to go. Our goal was for everything to have a natural and functional connection. From suppliers to customers there was a connection. The links worked. Things should happen easily. Only communication can make this cooperation flow, and technology serves us as the means to finalize it.

Q9: Have you encountered prejudices with employees who have looked at what you offer with suspicion?

Doreti: Of course, people have different reasons. For most, money is everything. Figure out the rest yourself.

Elvis: That’s one side of the coin. In terms of this issue, the fact that there is no proper school for what we do plays an important role. We take people to teach them first. Once they enter Elite Travel Group, they can judge differently. We tell everyone what we want to do and what opportunities they have for the future. We don’t want to turn anyone away, but when necessary, leaving has no return. No one returns if they leave, no matter why or how. Our way of working is unique.

We want to create a stress-free working environment in the future, an important goal.

Q10: What is the value you want to represent?

Elvis: I think we agree that integrity is the most important value.

Q11: What are the moments in the history of Elite Travel Group that have marked you?

Doreti: The pandemic for me has been a success story, although the biggest challenge. We kept all employees at work. Some left, but not because of us. We learned, and we reflected.

Elvis: The pandemic disoriented us. We realized that not everyone appreciated our management style. It made us grow. If we talk about a good moment, in 2018 when we implemented the new technology was a moment of relief. I could breathe freely.

Q12: I understand you are not the same in communication, attitude, and many other things. Is this also reflected at work?

Doreti: That’s why we don’t work in the same office. Each of us is good at what we do best. It’s fair to say that we complement each other without wanting to sound cliche.

Q13: Who does Elite Travel Group belong to?

Elvis: Elite Travel Group is a social asset.

Doreti: There are CEOs who, at some point give up the full management of companies. There will come a point when what we create will exceed our purpose.

Q14: Your approach to young people is different compared to other businesses. Let’s talk a little about that.

Elvis: There will be no company in the future that will not develop talent management. Young people inspire us.

Doreti: We understand that young people have a future. Everything that happens is for them.

Elvis: I can say that this is another reflection of our vision. We don’t want young people to suffer for a job. We provide education and employment.

Q15: At the entrance of the building, there is a sign that says that to work here you need a smile and respect for colleagues.

Doreti: We both worked as waiters when we were young. We have realized that you can be the best at what you do, but if you are not social and able to communicate will be left behind. A smile, even on the street or outside the office, affects work, although many do not understand it. I still have customers and people I know from when I was a waiter twenty-five years ago.

Elvis: I’ll be honest. It was necessary. It’s company culture. At us, everything gets done as a team. In this prism, being social is the norm. A toxic atmosphere in the work environment bothers me. We don’t want employees who only agree with us.

Doreti: An opposition with arguments is good for us. But at all times, we need to remember and apply our human values.

Q16: What does the future hold?

Elvis: Seasonless work. Service all year round. New jobs. We want to hire young people, and we want to become international. We are never where we should be. Our work has no schedule. We can always do it better. One of our values is sustainability. We have understood the problems. Now we are doing our best to educate to create bases. We want to create an optimal driving system.

Q17: What is your footprint?

Doreti: We want to continue revitalizing our city and hire more. We want people to continue to be surprised when they find out that our headquarters are located in Elbasan.

Elvis: We have created a stress-free, stable environment.

Q18: Do you live your dream every day?

Elvis: Every day, no question. I love what I do.

Doreti: At every moment.