Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Lance Hotéis.
João Câncio: I worked for more than 15 years in the commercial area of national companies, and whenever I had to travel, I suffered a lot to find a hotel that fit the budget stipulated by the company. I always wondered why the websites did not allow their users to negotiate the rate value online. One day a friend of mine, who used to make a lot of international travels, told me that the other countries had websites that worked with the DAILY AUCTION. Then I asked myself: Why do they not sell here in Brazil?
Then, we created Lance Hotéis with the idea of allowing the traveler to negotiate online directly and transparently the amount he will pay in his accommodation.
How does Lance Hotéis innovate?
João Câncio: We are the only online travel agency that allows travelers to negotiate directly and transparently the amount they will pay for their stay in a hotel. The process is very simple; the traveler just has to search for the destination, choose the hotel he wants to stay, and make an offer of how much he is willing to pay. He still has the option to complete the reservation for the advertised amount if he doesn’t get any discount. That is, the traveler has the option of making the reservation at the advertised price or can try to negotiate this price. In this way, we engage the customer and offer them real and immediate discounts without the need to participate in any loyalty program. The savings generated help travelers reduce travel costs. Consequently, the amount saved can be spent on other expenses at the destination of the trip, thus generating more income for the local population.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
João Câncio: The coronavirus pandemic hit the entire world tourism sector, and in some countries like Brazil, sales fell more than 90%. To overcome this difficult phase, we have reduced all possible costs and renegotiated contracts with suppliers. We have made the operation much leaner so that we can overcome this crisis.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
João Câncio: Yes. We had to make many difficult decisions, but we were able to learn quickly from all of this, and we automated many processes so that we were able to give an even faster and more efficient return to our customers and, at the same time, reduce the financial costs of the operation.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
João Câncio: This is a very difficult part, but I believe that the family has a fundamental role in this process. I had to dedicate myself, even more to work in these difficult times, but I always take the time to enjoy my family and give the attention that my children deserve. The moments of joy with them help me to return to work with less stress.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
João Câncio: For now, we have no competitors in Brazil. But our international competitors are Priceline and Hotwire.
Your final thoughts?
João Câncio: Surely, this pandemic will change the way people plan their trips. For that reason, I believe that we will come out of it even stronger because we have learned from the difficulties and are ready to deliver even more value to our customers.
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