Guido Becher, head of travel
As the head of Rappi Travel, Guido Becher is in charge of building and running the new travel vertical inside the Latin American super app and e-commerce platform.
In a series of interviews with executives participating in the online event in September, PhocusWire finds out what they have learned from the COVID-19 crisis.
Knowing what you know now, if you could go back to the start
of the crisis, what would you do differently?
Hard to know, as I still don't know exactly the certainty of
scenarios ahead - so maybe I'll answer you in six months. But I can tell you
that I would read less news and have fewer political discussions. Take time to
finish all of author Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s collection instead of going after
the latest weak-based theory on the web or how the market will change in the
I'm happy I saw this in time - I loved [Phocuswright founder] Philip Wolf's tip in a webinar
on focusing on the important things we always say we don't have bandwidth to
do. I was able to do many of them.
What have you learned from this time about the way you’ll
manage and communicate with your team moving forward?
That didn't change that much. My team and myself used to
travel quite often, and as we have teams in different countries with constant
home office too - the new work dynamics aren't so new to us. Rappi will
continue with remote work until next year, and overall performance has been
But too much digital and remote makes you lose some touch with the
team. It is important not to lose the kind of serendipitous opportunity moments
you have when you have time with your team face-to-face. Clearly it's hard to
have those moments nowadays, but asking everybody to keep the camera on during
calls, saving time each week to catch up, maybe even better with spontaneous
calls to the team or individual members with no specific subject, helps
maintain a fluid and closer communication.
What do you miss the most about travel?
Hard to pick what I don't miss! Everything but the tiring
one- or two-day international trips. I miss running in parks in different cities
when I travel, meeting and talking to people face-to-face, eating out, enjoying
different local flavors, being able to disconnect in the air as we are kind of
100% connected now. And I miss hugging friends and family that I only see when
What have been the surprise benefits to not traveling?
Not so much as a surprise, but family time has been the
biggest benefit. And being able to have schedules and plan some activities such
as reading, taking courses, sports. Eating better is also a gain of not having
crazy traveling schedules. As an extremely frequent traveler, eating was
regularly out and spontaneous. Being more at home connected me back to cooking,
which I enjoy.
What lasting changes
will there be to you personally from this time?
More than changes, I see some habits staying for the long
run. Activities with my family, cooking, keeping in shape and reading/studying
are going to remain, at least it’s my intention. The good results and happiness
those new habits brought motivated me to try to keep many of those changes,
from reading, planning the week better than I did in the past, taking new
programming and literature courses, to training regularly.
What’s been your one guilty pleasure during lockdown?
My glass of wine at night - trying different wine varietals
I was saving to who knows what times. But like among other pleasures like
getting back to reading J. L. Borges, there is no guilt in having them.