“This is a place of peace,” exhales Lucio Flavo Marini Adorno as he watches the sun rise over his own slice of paradise in the Brazilian Cerrado.
When Lucio, a geographer, arrived at the crystalline banks of the Rio Sono (Sleepy River) bordering Jalapão State Park, he knew he had found his life’s calling.
Captivated by the region’s natural beauty, in 2014 he established Jalapão Ecolodge, an eco-friendly accommodation and tourism business which allows visitors to experience the wilderness.
Guests from Brazil’s big cities — and as far away as France, the Netherlands and the United States — come to rest and rejuvenate in Jalapão’s hot springs, explore bright orange sand dunes, and watch rare hyacinth macaws fly through vast, open skies.
But for years Lucio and his team frequently missed bookings because of the area’s poor connectivity — which makes phone calls and emails impossible to rely on. To improve their bookings system, they turned to the WhatsApp Business app in November 2018.
“We no longer lose sales because of connectivity issues,” says Lucio, who uses the WhatsApp Business app to handle 95 percent of guest reservations and estimates it has helped the business grow by about 85 percent.
For Ecolodge, the WhatsApp Business app’s tools are a crucial solution to the region’s connectivity challenges. The business profile feature helps customers learn about this remote business’s operating hours and when the team is available. Also, thanks to the away messages feature, Lucio says customers can rest assured that their queries will be answered as soon as possible.
Leonardo Macedo, an aviation engineer from Rio de Janeiro, wanted to spend his vacation in Jalapão and the tour company he hired to get there connected with the Ecolodge via WhatsApp. “I love the away responses,” he says. “It’s all about speed and practicality.”
Another customer who organized her entire trip via WhatsApp adds, “Emails are slow and calls are inconvenient.”
Lucio wants more people to visit the place that continues to take his breath away. And with the WhatsApp Business app helping to ensure that his team is better connected with the world beyond, the Ecolodge’s guestbook has a good chance of filling up.