As you know, we were trying to get out as much content as possible about the Coronavirus pandemic and get it to you as quickly as possible. Today we've just received another installment from Hostel Road Trip Podcast. This time James Black is interviewing Eric Faria from Worldpackers in Brazil. They're talking about the state of Worldpackers who are currently volunteering and working or were planning to volunteer and work in hostels around the world. They'll also discuss the state of travelers who are stuck away from home and are not in their home countries.
SHOW VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
Darren Overby (00:00): Hey everyone, as you know, we were trying to get out as much content as possible about the Corona virus pandemic to get it to you as quickly as possible. And today I've just received another installment from hostel road trip podcast. James Black is interviewing Eric for Rhea from world Packers in Brazil and talking about the state of travelers who are volunteering and working or were planning to volunteer and work in hostels around the world. And also what are the state of travelers who've been stuck away from home and are not in their home countries. And what are they doing about it? And that's all in this video coming up. James Black (00:44): Welcome back to our hostel industry mini series for the pandemic special. We are very excited to have the cofounder of world Packers live from Brazil. Eric Faria. Eric Faria (01:00): How are we doing? Hey Jay. Hello. Are you there? How are you doing DAS? Yes, I'm here. I'm doing pretty good. How are you? James Black (01:08): Good, good. So how are things going down there in Brazil? Is it I locked down yet like it is up here in the California? Eric Faria (01:16): Yes. Yes. We are completely locked down here. I initially saw Paolo at where I am right now initially for 15 days. But we are pretty much following what other countries are doing, especially Europe and the us. So I think we are you guys are ahead of us during the lockdown and never detained. But w we are, we are following your steps. James Black (01:43): Cool. Yeah. Now how have you seen world Packers affected by this as you know, as a hospital loan or we went and saw our properties go from 83% occupancy to 2% occupancy in the matter of 72 hours. Did you see a very quick and abrupt cancellation of travels and things like that? Eric Faria (02:07): Yeah, for sure. Or short same. I think we are following the same path as the whole industry. And it was a matter of days a couple of weeks ago, two weeks ago. Everything was normal. It wasn't affecting the exchange we promote. Yeah. Right now we are pretty much the same situation like everyone else. James Black (02:30): Now to kind of talk about the topic of a world packer as a lot of them are out there, what are you finding is the situation for world Packers that were in the process of using your service and doing the exchange of hostels all over the world? Are a lot of them kind of caught in those hostels are locked down on those hostels or have the host been willing to put them up during that time period? Eric Faria (02:58): Yeah, so this is James Black (03:00): Actually what we are doing right now. We are trying to make sure are our hosts and travelers are safe, whatever they are right now. So we are trying to talk to them, the close to the community. So cancel future entry being canceled or RDA almost anywhere. Find support for the traveler that are on the road and March some fraud protects that, that are trying to help, sorry, trying to shelter people because to to be on the eighth right now. It's not a safe place to be for. We are trying to articulate with the community to make sure everyone's safe. Yes, of course. Yeah. That's always the number one priority for everyone. Right now you've kind of got to put business aside for the current moment, but what do you see as far as, is there a point where cancellations kind of drop off or stop, you know, like, do you see people still keeping their hosting obligations and, or backpacking applications? Are they still there for like June or July or when do you see that cancellation line in your market? Eric Faria (04:17): You, you're talking about when when we're gonna be able to do future trips. James Black (04:23): Oh, no. But like inside of your existing platform, when did you see most of the cancellations go through? Was it April, may or June? What are you seeing as far as that? Eric Faria (04:36): That's definitely the, the first week of their pandemic, you know, these week and last week has been, I've been definitely where we have the most cancer missions and now you're facing people trying to cancel future trips because that's the whole situation he's unfolding. People are trying to miss thing if they're canceling future trips or not. I think everyone's kind of waiting to see what the situation we will look like in the next days, weeks. James Black (05:12): Yes. That's so much of what we're hearing from other people as well across the industry is how do you plan for the unknowable or the, you know, there's completely a day to day operation as far as what news comes out and how this will change things. And then there's also a good topic of how long will it take for the travel industry to recover even after they say it's okay to start traveling again. So a lot of unknowns that make it difficult to plan for. Completely understandable. Are there any specials that you guys are offering right now to potential world Packers that either have trips planned or looking to make new trips? Eric Faria (05:53): Yeah, sure. We are extending annual membership six months. Yes. Basically the time period that we think that the situation will be little stoves. And right now we, we are trying to yeah, as I said, get closer to the community. We're trying to understand which travelers are in need of help. We are trying to go back home. We, we definitely have some war Packers with current coming home in this current moment right now. So we are trying to find support to them because everyone's trying to hold together, right. The host is, are facing is locked down. We thought with a big loss and they had their team, they had their staff. A lot of people are trying to choose between pay staff are paid their rent. So the situation right now is try to, to hold. I tried to understand everyone needs in the, in this moment, which is very unique. That's why we're trying to be as close as we can to understand each individual need right now. But yeah, we're trying to we're trying to do a walk, what is bath part for the community and for the safety of our travelers and hosts. James Black (07:16): Sure. Yeah. And you bring up a good point and no planning about six months out. That's kind of what the experts say that in the conservative estimate and you know, could be the effect time or period. So it does make it very difficult, but I know we have a large amount of WORLDPAC are spread across our four locations and now they're trapped in the same situation. They can't travel back to their country or they don't have any prospects for any other jobs or situations. So it's very difficult for them as well. We have tried to utilize the free time and open access to the facilities to do a lot of deep cleaning, renovations, things like that, facilities improvements. So the utilize that live in staff while you have them because it can still be mutually beneficial as they don't have much anywhere to go to it or right now anyways, or any other prospects. So there's definitely ways to utilize the situation to your advantage, but it is quite a pickle we're all in, that's for sure. Eric Faria (08:13): Yeah, that was everyone. Everyone's kind of trying to understand day by day. A lot will happen in the next days, a week. I think correct me if I'm wrong, but in, in the United States you are all locked down as well or month or, or two a month. James Black (08:36): Yeah. Well, well, the Donald, our president has, you know, been more on the optimistic side, I think to try to keep confidence up. And he wanted to keep it to two weeks, but now I think he even realizes, and now he's saying it's going to be Easter, which I think has religious connotations of we're going to reopen at Easter. Yeah. So I even that is very optimistic viewpoint. Puts this going out another month. And then, you know, the scientists going from a scientific view. And you know, we had Christopher Christopher Malanney on last night giving us some of his thoughts. But yeah, from the scientific viewpoint, it could go on for three to six months very easily. So we all have to make our preparations for something in there. Because another tricky thing before I let you go, and I thank you so much for your time. James Black (09:24): I know you're extremely busy as well. But another tricky thing for hosts is with these world Packers and your staff in general, it's really hard to let go of everyone, not only from the emotional standpoint of things but also if they were to say in a week or two, okay, everything's fine. We did a good job, we're turning everything back on. It's very hard to then rebuild everything from scratch. If you've been you know, dealing with this situation as if you were going to be in it for months on end, you know, so there's definitely that situation you've got to deal with as well. Eric Faria (10:03): Yeah, I bought, I bought the the speech of Trump Brazilian president got your bullets for Nado. He's falling pretty much the same speech, the same fat. The country was, you're not in a recession previously already. So just trying to be optimistic about it, trying to calm people down and get business back that I had been called sir and that's dedicated the right now, which some people are concerned. I bought it. That's of being caused by, by the virus. But a lot of people are now dating that if we don't get back to business much more people we will die with over from that economic collapse. We will be facing the next month. So you know how that situation in the West but it might be pretty similar to to some Paulo Brazil. James Black (11:06): I agree. Yeah. That's a big topic. We were talking about that last night's episode of is the cure, you know, worse than the actual sickness. You know, what we do to the economy. We'll have so many side effects of people in their health and other ways through stress and depression, anxiety, all these different things that we're creating by doing this is it worth it. So very difficult situation and topic to debate because there's obviously pros and cons on each side. But I thank you so much for taking the time to give us an update on the situation down there in Brazil and also with world Packers and we'll definitely want to touch base with you again in the coming days as things were unfolding so much. Now. we'll kinda touch base then and see where we're at because it's so useful for not only the hosts to hear what's going on across the spectrum, but also the world Packers themselves that are using the service. So thank you so much, Eric, for Maria, and we wish you the best down there in Brazil.