We talked to Grasiela Camargo, founder of Clubinho de Ofertas, about online traveling guides, and this is what she said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Grasiela Camargo: Thank God we are well. We have been working at home since March 2020, and my daughter only studies online. Our income has changed a lot since I stopped receiving from March to December 2020, and I have currently received only a minimum wage to cover some personal expenses. We cut costs, negotiated some contracts, and my husband has managed to maintain our home structure and studies since I have a 13-year-old daughter.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Clubinho de Ofertas.
Grasiela Camargo: I am advertising, multidisciplinary and self-taught. I worked for years on my own and in some offices. The latter quite focused on the internet, where I learned to describe and plan websites. In 2010, when the collective buying boom took place in Brazil, I was delighted because I am passionate about promotions. My daughter was three years old at the time, and I started looking on the collective buying sites for tour offers to do with her. At this moment, I had the insight to develop a collective shopping website with offers for children. I talked to my husband at the time, and he loved the idea. So we started planning and started the company in 2011.
How does Clubinho de Ofertas innovate?
Grasiela Camargo: In the beginning, our great innovation was to focus on the children’s niche. It was a great differential because there was no other site in the same format. And with that, we won the market and passed in front of giants in the segment, such as Groupon. After some time and with the decline of collective buying, we focused on what we were strong: children’s events like theater. From there, the innovations that were created were based on listening to the client, understanding what he wanted, and maintaining an active communication channel with him. We created a streaming channel to continue bringing children’s shows to the public and interactive Lives between children’s characters and children. Today we innovate in the offers we offer to the public and in the way we communicate with them.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business, and how are you coping?
Grasiela Camargo: We were paralyzed for practically five months in 2020 because the events were banned, mainly the theater. We developed a streaming platform for children’s events, but that didn’t go ahead, as we didn’t have much investment.
With the resumption little by little, we looked for other attractions that were possible at the time. We sell events online, drive-thru, and then the events that we had before, which were gradually returning. We also look for outdoor events, which are most sought after in this pandemic moment, and we did a great campaign for an amusement park in Rio de Janeiro. This encouraged us to look for another market that we had been trying without much effort: the Amusement Park market, which is much larger than the one we are currently working on.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Grasiela Camargo: Yes, I had to shut down practically the whole team, including my developer, who created the platform. I had to borrow to pay the costs and cancel several contracts and partnerships that were important to the company.
We developed a streaming platform for children’s shows. However, I had to give it up because the return was far below what we expected and because little by little, the reopening movement was returning and brought us a lot of work. It was not possible to maintain both operations. I learned that I must have more control over finances and more assertive contracts with employees. I also understood that having loans is part of the business, and what will most sustain you, in the long run, is your reputation with the market and customers. At the moment of return, they go back to looking for those they trust.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Grasiela Camargo: We use Google Business, and with that, most of what was done by employees were maintained and continues to be used. I use spreadsheets all the time to control spending and measure campaign performance. I am improving myself in digital marketing, and I discovered new and cheaper tools than I had been using before for triggering emails, communicating with the customer, and online dissemination.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Grasiela Camargo: Our competitors are all online ticket offices that control tickets for theaters and other promotional ticket sales sites in São Paulo. In Rio, we are the only promotional ticket sales site until Peixe Urbano, acquired by Groupon, closed, and we kept to ourselves. I stay in the game by developing strategic and niche-focused partnerships, making great sites for the promotion of attractions in my affiliates, and with that, I keep them by my side before they become competitors. In addition, we have constantly been expanding the offer options. If it’s for family, we bring it to the Clubinho de Ofertas.