Building Hotel Sales Post Natural and Manmade Crises

Situation Analysis. Our client, who owns four Velas Resorts in three destinations in Mexico, suffered from three consecutive blows to Mexican tourism.
  • The impression of danger based on drug-related violence
  • A weak U.S. economy, Mexicos most important source of visitors and tourism revenue
  • The advent of the swine flu. To make matters even worse, the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S. and Canada advised against all non-essential travel to Mexico  [Top]
…. All of which caused the biggest drop in tourism revenue since records began in the 1980s.

The challenge
Get North Americans traveling back to Mexico and the Velas Resorts, especially individual leisure travelers, who book short term.

Strategies
  • Develop marketing programs and hotel features that provided enticing value, making a trip to Mexico irresistible, without eroding the resorts average daily rate.
  • Create a sense of urgency, time-limited deals, urging visitors to take advantage and book now.
  • Tap into luxury travel and lifestyle trends that would resonate with affluent travelers and generate press coverage.
  • Set forth an emotional appeal and message that American visitors are welcome.
  • Work closely with the public relations agencies for each hotels destination to capture the largest share of the media visits and promotions, and more importantly, stretch marketing dollars.  [Top]
Tactics
  • Developed a Welcome Back to Mexico promotion for all the Velas Resorts with a unique feature that no one else was offering: a double upgrade. (In a 2009 study for Leading Hotels of the World by Market Matrix, it was determined that the amenity affluent travelers most valued was the upgrade).
  • Primarily targeted the family market, because even in a depressed economy, travelers make friends and family a priority. We proclaimed summer as a Family Fiesta, with enticements and special features for kids and their parents.
  • Identified and targeted a new, underserved market - single parents, a hotel first for Mexico. Developed a program offering the same rate as for two in a room, with up to two kids sharing the room for free.
  • Launched a series of group and individual media visits for offline and online media.
  • Liaised with public relations agencies of the Mexico Tourism Board, Riviera Nayarit, Riviera Maya and Puerto Vallarta, being the first resorts to offer media hospitality, secure remote broadcasts and coordinated messaging with these agencies.  [Top]
Results
  • The Welcome Back to Mexico promotion, which involved no loss of revenue or additional expenses for the resorts, became the best selling of any of their package offerings. As a result, summer bookings to the resorts call center were up as much as 40% (depending on the resort) and the promotion was extended through the fall.
  • The "Single Parent promotion was so successful in generating room nights and media coverage, it will continue to be an annual low-season offering for all Velas resorts.
  • Bookings generated were the solely the result of media relations efforts and email marketing, as there was no advertising support.
  • Within eight weeks of the announcements, editorial coverage appeared in a whos who of media outlets, everything from the New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, to CNN, Travel + Leisures Hot Deals and Tribune News Services, as well as creating enormous buzz and pick-up on numerous social media sites.  [Top]

KWE Partners
1581 Brickell Avenue Suite 1103, Miami, Florida 33129
Tel: 305-476-5424  
Email: escalera@kwepr.com