How to beat the big boys in Ecuador accepting barter

Like with any small business you put in Ecuador, you’re going to have competitors with DEEP multi-million dollar pockets.

In my case for my 19 room hotel near the Quito airport, I compete with the Wyndham an international chain.

So how can a little guy like me or you when against these corporate dicks.

Of course, there’s always charge less than them.

But there’s other creative ways to beat these guys too.

Like what I started to do this week: Offering alternative payment methods.

For instance a month ago on a trip to the States I noticed many younger people in the States like my brother pay for everything with Cash App, a free phone application that connects to your bank account and allows you to make payments to other users quickly and super easy.  I now accept Cash App.

You could also try accepting Bitcoin.  It’s as easy as creating a digital wallet through an app like Blockchain.  Search for it on Google Play Store.  Download and you get a digital address people can send Bitcoin too. It has a learning curve but you get the hang of it quickly.  I now accept Bitcoin.

You could also accept barter.  Why should we be forced to always accept fiat money, aka cash?  Why not except goods in exchange for a service.  For instance, I have someone coming from the States bring me something they buy (so they can verify the contents), and on arrival I reimburse what they spent as per their receipt for the item and for the act of bringing it I offer the room free. If they item can net a $100 gain here, I now sold my normally $40 room for $100.  I now accept barter, too.  Email me if you need a room.

The big guys move a lot slower and it may be years before they adopt these alternative payment options that gives you the advantage in the eyes of some customers.

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Surprise flight connection that could save you BIG getting to/from Ecuador

Recently, I helped an Ecuadorian friend buy her ticket from Ecuador to Israel.

And I learned something interesting.

To or from most places in the world, right now, it is FAR cheaper to fly there from Bogota than from anywhere in Ecuador.

Bogota is WAY more connected than Quito, and right now Quito is getting way more connected than Guayaquil.  (In the last two weeks alone two big direct routes to New York and Europe have been moved to Quito.)

And now, as I reported last month, we can get to and from Bogota cheaply from Quito with the new budget airline Wingo.  Last I checked, $150 RT Quito-Bogota.

In this particular case, prices from Quito to Tel Aviv for her was around $1600 at the cheapest. From Guayaquil even more.  But from Bogota just $1000!  And buying the Wingo ticket for $150 she ended up saving almost $500 on the round trip to Israel.

So, especially if you are coming from far away, or trying to go far, research connecting through Bogota, and buying a separate ticket with Wingo from there to Ecuador, you just may save a bunch!

For instance, from Bogota to Miami right now one way $157 with Spirit Air.  Can’t find that from Ecuador.

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The best new-age way to find furnished rentals abroad for expats

When moving to a new country, in this case Ecuador, as a new expat you are going to face a problem.  

You don’t want to live in a cramped hotel room for extended periods of time with no kitchen.  

And all the cheapest rentals that you’ve read about online (like the $200-400/month ones in Ecuador) are unfurnished.  

Most do not want to jump right in and invest thousands in furniture.  

But over the last few years another alternative has popped up meant mainly for travelers but I see it as even MORE advantageous for new arrival expats.  

AirBnB.com  

With AirBnb you can find short-to-medium-term rentals at reasonable prices with all the services and furniture already in place.  

Plus, you avoid the biggest problems new expats face when renting from Ecuadorians in Ecuador.

Faulty construction (you can just move if you don’t like it since you are not locked in for the long-term).  

And the landlord not returning your security deposit when they should.  It is the NORM in Ecuador.  

When renting through AirBnb if you pay a security deposit the money is held by a third party (AirBnb) and returned to you by them upon exit like should happen.  

And while you are in an AirBnb rental you can learn your new city and then begin to search for a longer term, cheaper, unfurnished option as you go.  

Hasta pronto, if you liked this you’d love my Insider’s newsletter on living and investing in Ecuador,

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