November 14, 2008
Hacienda Tres Rios
RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico— The fourth stop of Travel Agent’s recent tour of Cancun and Riviera Maya properties was a visit to the first family-focused resort on our agenda, Hacienda Tres Rios. This hotel is perfect for families. Its guests-only Tres Rios park is just right for clients looking to snorkel in cenotes and see all kinds of wildlife and fauna just a short walk from their hotel rooms.
When we arrived earlier this week, the property was preparing for a soft opening, but it is expecting to be fully operational by the spring. It has 273 Junior Suites. We saw room #1121, a Ceiba Junior Suite with two double beds or a king bed. It also comes with a sofa, a balcony and an indoor Jacuzzi. We also saw room #1122, a Casa Grande, which can accommodate six people. We consider it to be the best room of the property. It has a king bed with a Jacuzzi right next to it and a dining area. Agents should contact Miriam Martinez, wedding and social events sales manager, at 011-52-998-891-5266 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned as Travel Agent brings you more properties we saw during our one-week tour of Riviera Maya and Cancun resorts.
November 14, 2008
Mandarin Oriental, Riviera Maya
RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico— The third stop on Travel Agent’s recent tour of Cancun and Riviera Maya properties was perhaps one of the best luxury products we’ve ever seen in Mexico. The Mandarin Oriental, Riviera Maya was the definition of modern, trendy elegance. This was high-class at its best, from the property’s six artists' sculptures located throughout the property— essentially creating an outdoor art museum— to incredible rooms like the Presidential Villa, offering three bedrooms, a rooftop plunge pool, two floors, and there are windows in front of the sink offering views of the ocean. Book these for clients looking for the best of the best, but other rooms such as our Villas Selva, or “jungle,” will not disappoint.
We stayed in room #347, which offers an outdoor pool set in the heart of the property’s jungle landscape. The room also comes with a king bed, a bathroom with a Jacuzzi and a separate closet area. Our favorite subtle feature was the sliding door from the bedroom to the bathroom, which was actually a mirror on the other side, making you feel completely isolated in your bed. Another neat touch is that all remote controls in every room glow, so you won’t have problems channel surfing in the dark. Agents should call Oscar Molina, senior sales manager, at 011-52-984-877-3251 or email@example.com.
Stay tuned as Travel Agent brings you more properties we saw during our one-week tour of Riviera Maya and Cancun resorts.
November 13, 2008
Feed Your Appetite: Food, Shopping, Culture in Rome
It’s time for celebration. My favorite place to eat seafood in Rome is now open for lunch. Co-owner Anna Maria Gabrieli met me at Quinzi & Gabrieli (+39 06 79 389, firstname.lastname@example.org) near the Pantheon and Piazza Navona (Via Delle Coppelle 5) and, with a wave of her hand, set the waiters in motion. A tsunami of fresh Mediterranean catches kept arriving, from the freshest oysters to eggplant and shrimp rolls, to slightly grilled langoustine to pasta with morsels of shellfish. This is the perfect place to have a long, fabulous lunch after spending the morning on a Context Tour or just wandering around. Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, and Leonardo Di Caprio come here when working on films in Rome— book for dinner and do some people watching, or have a sumptuous lunch, followed by a nice long nap.
I decided to walk off my lunch by wandering over to the Gattinoni boutique at Via Sistina 44 to see if there was something I could fit into after my enormous meal. I adore Guillermo Mariotto, the creative director, who showed me his 2009 designs the other day. His look is a combination of the classic and mystic, with a twist of naughty. . . just like the Venezuelan/Venetian himself. The haute couture atelier on Via Toscana 1, near Via Veneto, is where iconic stars like Ingrid Bergman have founder Fernanda Gattinoni display her creative genius; now Guillermo brings in the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow. Satisfied that I could still fit into at least a scarf after my huge repast, I continued on to the rooftop bar at the Sofitel.
A table at La Bella Vista, the seventh floor terrace bar, a glass of perfectly chilled Pietrablanca, and all’s right with the world. The sky was banded with sunset colors, layers of blues, and swallows swooped and dipped above umbrella pines in the park below. I really love this bar— it’s positioned directly toward the sunset and, during cocktail hour, drinks come with little square bowls of parmesan cubes, roasted almonds, and nibbles of Norcia salami. What could be better?
Then, though it seemed impossible to eat again, I did: dinner at Le 49, masterminded by former Alain Ducasse hand Chef Omar Agostini. The Rome Villa Borghese Sofitel is celebrating its fifth star, surely at least in part because the food is so good. The garbanzo soup and the risotto with pigeon were divine. This young Italian chef has a very bright future and is awaiting a new restaurant space in 2009, when the Sofitel continues restoration of the former Boston Hotel at Via Lombardia 47, near the Via Veneto. For now, though, Le 49 is cozy, with a gentleman’s club atmosphere.
In the food for the soul category, the Sacred Music Concerts take place during the last half of November in the four Papal Basilicas. Programs include works by the masters— Brahms, Haydn, Mozart, Bach— performed by a variety of orchestras in some of Rome’s most evocative settings. Visit www.festivalmusicaeartesacra.net.
November 13, 2008
Make the Most Of Your Culinary Fam Trips
Nancy Harkrider of ExploreAsia.net recommends how to have fun on culinary fam trips and bring back knowledge that builds your business.
I got a call the other day from a travel agent planning a fam trip to China. She wanted to get some ideas about how she could come back with strategies for selling culinary tours. Afterward, it occurred to me that these ideas might be helpful to Travel Agent readers. Think of it like this: It starts with appetizers and moves to the main courses before finally lingering over dessert and coffee.
Trip preparation is essential. I recommend you go about this systematically and creatively so you are ready to understand what you are experiencing.
o Do some self study— watch videos and review resources like Travel Agent.
o Visit the International Culinary Tourism Association website www.culinarytourism.org.
o Locate friends and associates who have been on a trip similar to the one you are taking and find out what surprised and excited them as well as what they didn’t like so you can go on the trip with ideas to use for your future culinary groups.
o Go to some local restaurants with the same cuisine you will be experiencing on your trip. Chat with your server and find out what people like about this particular type of food. Better yet, invite some of those veteran culinary travelers to join you for a meal.
o Take a book or audios about culinary travel or about the country you will be visiting. It’s amazing how much more exciting and relevant this is when I am actually airborne.
On the trip, the first recommendation is to relax and immerse yourself in the amazing experiences you will be having. I find that the better time I have, the more I can translate that passion to my customers.
o Keep something handy for recording the best bits from your tour leader, conversations with locals and to record your own reflections. I strongly recommend an audio recorder, one small enough to fit in your hand, with the power to record seven-eight hours before you need to upload to a computer. A small notebook works well too
o Take advantage of conversations with others on the fam trip. Exchange ideas for how what you are all experiencing can be translated to selling points for customers.
o Encourage your tour leader to talk about experiences with other travelers in terms of what they love, their questions as well as what they wanted more of about their culinary travel.
o Take pictures, concentrating on close ups of food and people since those types of pictures sell your story with customers. Make sure someone takes some pictures of you enjoying your culinary adventures.
o Make it a point to find at least one fellow traveler on your fam who is enthusiastic about staying in touch and sharing ideas.
When back home, reflect on what you learned.
o Organize your notes, images and audios in a way that you can really use when working with clients who are interested in culinary travel.
o Write about your experiences via your website, a blog or newsletters geared to potential customers.
o Stay in touch with that culinary travel “buddy” as each of you builds your culinary niche.
o When your customers go on a culinary journey, connect with them after the trip. They are your most valuable resource for revisions and modifications that will guarantee five-star recommendations from future culinary groups.
Food for thought!
By: Nancy Harkrider
November 12, 2008
Azul Fives Hotel, by Karisma
RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico— The second stop of Travel Agent’s recent one-week tour of the Riviera Maya and Cancun properties was the impressive Azul Fives Hotel, by Karisma in Playa del Carmen, which is slated to open December 1. Like our host property, the new Azul Sensatori Hotel, by Karisma that we told you about Wednesday, this was also unlike many all-inclusive properties we’ve visited in the past.
Just 15 minutes from the heart of Playa del Carmen, this resort features close to 360 rooms. But lets get right to point: Go no further than booking the one-bedroom suite. There perhaps is no room more impressive at this price. You can book a one-bedroom suite and a Deluxe Room next door, essentially making up a two-bedroom suite. The stairs of the one-bedroom suite lead to the rooftop where a Jacuzzi, a bed, a bar and wrap-around couch await. The Jacuzzi is high enough so a client can appreciate the views even while he or she is in it. The rooftop area can accommodate between 30-40 people and the room, including the Deluxe Room, can have up to six people for a total cost of about $1,100 or about $150-$170 a person, per night.
Think about it: $150-$170 per person, all-inclusive with some of the best amenities you can get anywhere in Mexico. This is the perfect spot for a bachelor or bachelorette party or perhaps something a bit classier like a family reunion. A personal chef and/or bartender can also be hired for this room at an extra cost. Agents should contact Alexia Muralt, sales manager, at 011-52-998-872-8080 or email@example.com. Stay tuned as Travel Agent brings you more properties we saw during our one-week tour of Riviera Maya and Cancun resorts.
November 11, 2008
Azul Sensatori Hotel by Karisma in Mexico
RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico— Travel Agent recently concluded its onsite coverage of the new Azul Sensatori Hotel by Karisma and experienced first hand what Karisma has been preaching for the last year. The food, we learned, is what makes this hotel different than perhaps any such product we’ve seen in years. Since it opened only a couple of weeks ago, the property is still doing some last-minute touches, such as crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s on the landscape, but this was arguably the most fully operational resort we have seen so soon after a grand opening.
But we came here to see if one claim was true: was Karisma’s Gourmet Inclusive product worth the hype? Was food truly what separated this 438-suite resort from all other Mexican resorts? Twelve courses later at Le Chique restaurant, the property’s trendy, molecular fusion restaurant, we answered "yes" and "yes."
Travel Agent knows that every agent booking an all-inclusive has the same fear: is this property going to serve nothing but buffets? Well, the food we had during our four-day stay would never lead you to believe you were eating an all-inclusive. We ate at just about every one of the property’s six gourmet restaurants, from the previously mentioned Le Chique— where we had one of the most unusual and incredibly delicious meals in sometime— to Tapaz, which serves customized meals personally presented by the chef.
But Le Chique was our favorite. The presentation and wine pairing of each small proportion felt more like a cooking demonstration than a meal. Each of the courses was small but by the twelfth, you were full. The chef explained what each dish was and why the wine was selected for that particular serving. The restaurant sat only a maximum of four people per table, which were separated by a chic design of red and black strings in a dimly lit atmosphere. Another unique touch was the color-changing wine cellar, which was located in the front of the restaurant.
We also loved the rooms. While Azul Sensatori Hotel by Karisma has the best Kid’s Club we’ve seen at an all-inclusive, we loved how it still offered an adults-only section. We stayed in room #2409, a Jacuzzi Junior Suite located in the adults-only section. It came with a king bed, a large outdoor balcony with ocean views and a Jacuzzi to the right of the bed and with views of the TV.
Agents should call Alexia Muralt, sales manager, at 011-52-998-872-8080 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned as Travel Agent brings you more properties we saw during a one-week tour of Riviera Maya and Cancun resorts including Azul Fives Hotel, by Karisma.
November 10, 2008
Fresh off a recent trip to Singapore, Senior Editor Mark Rogers takes a look at the the country's attractions and intriguing Peranakan culture.
Two weeks ago I attended the first ever ITB Asia, which was held in Singapore. While much of my time was spent attending press conferences and making site visits to hotels, I managed to sample some of Singapore’s top attractions. While Singapore is a top-flight business destination, it’s fast becoming an appealing leisure destination as well.
My guide during my trip was Winnie Ubbink (email@example.com). As we were zipping in and out of traffic to one site after another, I asked her to give her picks for the top three family attractions in Singapore. Winnie immediately rattled off the island of Sentosa, the Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari. Her pick for not-to-be missed museum is The National Museum of Singapore. If you’re looking for the most romantic restaurant in Singapore, Winnie recommends My Humble House. “The ambience and lighting is so beautiful— it was designed by Chinese artist-musician Zhang Jin Jie,” says Winnie. “While the cuisine is traditional Chinese, it’s served in a very nice Western way.”
During my visit I had the chance to visit both the National Museum of Singapore and the Singapore Zoo. I’m not a big fan of zoos. A trip I made to New York’s Central Park Zoo back in the 1970s, when I came face to face with a dispirited red fox in a tiny, cramped cage, soured me on zoos big time. So, to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to my visit to the Singapore Zoo. I was pleasantly surprised— the Singapore Zoo brings the free-ranging concept to a whole new level. In many cases, the animals are almost within touching distance. I could have spent hours at one exhibit alone— Hamadryas Baboons behind a spacious glass-enclosed setting that recreated their Ethiopian environment. It was easy to get wrapped up in the baboon’s Alpha male displays, meticulous grooming of each other, the babies riding along on their mothers’ backs and the playfulness of the adolescent games of tag. It’s recommended that visitors schedule at least three hours for a visit to the zoo. Also, if possible go on a weekday— the weekends draw the biggest crowds.
By its name alone, the National Museum of Singapore conjured up endless displays of arid documents and official oil portraits. Once again my misperceptions were stood on their heads. This is a hands-on, emotion packed and hip venue that does a great job of illuminating Singapore’s history and cultural heritage— both low and high culture. I especially enjoyed donning a pair of headphones and listening to Singapore pop music of the '60s, and viewing a multi-screen display of short clips of Singapore’s cinema from the '30s— including a Singaporean take on the vampire myth.
I suggest visiting the National of Museum of Singapore early in your visit – it will set off shocks of recognition throughout the rest of your stay and deepen your experience of the destination.
The museum is also a good introduction to Singapore’s Peranakan culture, which dates back to the 17th century when Chinese men traveled to Singapore in search of their fortunes and ended up marrying Malay women. The two races intermingled to create a unique culture of their own. Singapore knows a good thing when it sees it, so you can expect to see some clever marketing of the Peranakan culture in the future. I think one of Singapore’s drawbacks for leisure tourism was the perception that it was a thoroughly modern society with its eyes firmly locked on the future. Tourists desire a cultural aspect to a long-haul journey and the Singapore’s Peranakan culture will provide that.
The word iconic gets thrown around a lot, and the idea of an “instant icon” is a bit of a contradiction. But the Singapore Flyer has achieved that status in less than a year. This luxury state-of-the-art observation wheel rises 541 feet into air, providing panoramic views of Singapore’s Marina Bay and the financial district skyline. If you’ve seen the London Eye you’ll have a pretty good idea of the Singapore Flyer. Each of the 28 capsules is fully air-conditioned and accommodates up to 30 people. Unlike the National Museum of Singapore, I suggest experiencing the Singapore Flyer later into your trip. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy pointing out the places you’ve visited, seen from a birds-eye vantage point. I rode the Singapore Flyer as the sun was going down, as the skyline began to light up and the cars switched on their headlights on the highways below. It added a dramatic element to the experience. The ride lasts about 37 minutes so consider timing your ride during the sundown hour.
I’ve always felt that each journey is actually two trips— the one you take, and the one you experience in your imagination before you arrive. Over an Indonesian Rijsttafel (rice table) lunch with Ted Utoft, a U.S.-born actor now working in Singapore, I asked for his tips on which books and movies a Singapore-bound traveler should seek out in advance of his trip. Ted recommends "Saint Jack," Paul Theroux’s bawdy novel (and the Bogdonavitch-directed movie made from it); "Tanamerah," a romantic novel of Colonial times written by Noel Barber, and "Notes from a Small Island" by Neil Humphries, a collection of short stories based on real experiences.
See images of Mark's journey in Singapore in the slide show below.
By: Mark Rogers
November 07, 2008
Onboard the Ruby Princess
Travel Agent Senior Contributing Editor Susan J. Young was onboard Princess Cruises' newest ship, the 3,080-passenger Ruby Princess, at Port Everglades, FL, on Thursday amid a sea of travel agents and VIPs outfitted in red attire as Trista and Ryan Sutter of "The Bachelorette" named the ship in honor of their fifth wedding anniversary.
As part of the romance-themed event, red roses floated in the top deck pool; waiters served red and pink drinks; Love Boat Captain Gavin MacLeod gave away a couple who were married on the new ship; and red confetti rained down on guests at the completion of the naming ceremony.
During Friday morning's travel agency briefing, Jan Swartz, Princess' senior vice president of sales and customer service, talked with several hundred travel agents about selling in a tough economy. She stressed that, within Princess' target market (upper middle class to affluent travelers), clients generally still have their jobs, their homes and their credit. "Your customers haven't decided against a vacation," stressed Swartz. "They're trying to convince themselves." She acknowledged that every customer is assessing their personal situation every day but said agents shouldn't assume they have to wait to start selling. She suggested adapting the sales pitch and avoid focusing on indulgence, stating, "Play off the need, not the splurge."
Swartz also outlined a side-by-side comparison of a 12-day Princess European cruise ($3,755 per person double) versus a 12-day land tour visiting four cities ($6,139 per person double). The Princess vacation included balcony cabin accommodations and was 39 percent less expensive. To help agents make this type of value comparison, and thus the sale, Swartz said Princess will introduce a new short Princess Academy trade training course in the week or so.
Rai Caluori, Princess' executive vice president of fleet operations, said Ruby Princess' delivery completes the existing new build program. The average age of the fleet is now 5.6 years. While the line has a next-generation ship on the drawing board, there are no orders on the books at this time. Moving forward, Caluori said Princess will focus on product consistency and the continuation of its internal "Consummate Host" approach for training employees, as it strives for superior customer service.
Describing the Princess brand appeal as comfortable elegance, Caluori stressed that "we're not about forced fun. You choose what to do and when to do it." As it works on fine-tuning, Princess is rolling out new menus and, in some cases, simplifying the language that describes certain dishes; that was suggested by customers in feedback to the line. Currently, the line is piloting a new Entertainment e-mail; before your client sails on Ruby Princess, the line will send a personalized email from the ship's cruise director outlining all the entertainment available on that cruise.
Princess is also introducing a new Ultimate Ship's Tour on Ruby Princess; this is a $150 per person tour to behind-the-scenes areas of the ship, including the engine control room, the print shop, the galley, the ship's laundry and the bridge. Along the way, 10-12 participants max will interact with employees and receive such gifts as personalized stationery, a cookbook, a photograph on the bridge, and a fluffy robe. Reservations will be made onboard on a first come, first served basis. Caluori said the price point is designed to manage what is expected to be high guest demand on a very labor intensive tour.
What else is new? The line has also just rolled out a new Wheelhouse Pub Lunch on Ruby Princess, Crown Princess and Emerald Princess. Every sea day the line will serve a complimentary lunch that consists of a choice of Cottage Pie, Bangers & Mash, or Fish & Chips. In addition, the line is introducing a new breakfast in Sabatini's for suite guests. If it proves successful, it may be expanded to lunch or brunch.
See more images from the event in the slide show below.
Stay tuned for another update from Ruby Princess on Tuesday.
By: Susan Young
November 05, 2008
Ruthanne Terrero's Preferred Adventure
There are some days when I truly feel I am special. Today was one of them because, while checking through airport security in San Diego, I believe I actually removed my laptop from my carry-on bag while simultaneously taking off my shoes. This was all in one movement. The choreography involved was stunning and the only reason I'm not going to try to explain to you just how I did it is that I don't want to jinx myself so that I'll never be able to do it again.
I was in San Diego because I had attended the Preferred Hotels conference, which was held at the The Grand Del Mar, a member hotel that opened a year ago (more on that later).
At the conference, I moderated a panel of some of the top travel agents in the country: Dan Beschloss, executive director, corporate sales and industry relations, Valerie Wilson Travel; Wido Schaefer, chairman and CEO of the Travel Store; David Odaka, president, All Star Travel Group and Jerry Greenberg, general manager/Leisure Division, Cassis Travel Services.
The questions I asked the panel, for the most part, had been submitted beforehand by the hoteliers in attendance. Someone wanted to know if consumers were being swayed yet in their buying decisions by how "green" a hotel was. The answer was a flat "No." One of the panelists had had the very occassional request to rent a hybrid car over the past year, but that was about it.
One major concern for the panelists was hotel pricing. All agreed that they'd rather see hotels create value-added programs, such as free nights, transfers, breakfasts and other incentives than see hotels slash prices to spur consumer travel in this downturn.
An intense dislike of dynamic pricing was voiced by David Odaka, who says he hates to see a hotel priced differently for every single night of the week.
All concurred that the newly more favorable exchange rates for the dollar vs. the euro and the pound could encourage travel to Europe and that selling Europe will now become simpler since the need to deal with guaranteed dollar rates would likely no longer be necessary. And, of course, the fact that the presidential election was about to be over was also making panelists optimistic that those consumers who have been taking a wait-and-see stance on discretionary trips would soon start to travel again.
Laced amongst this optimism, however, was the concern that corporations have already begun scaling back their travel dramatically. The panelists noted that some cancellations for 2009 meetings have already occurred and, in other cases, high-end corporate travelers are selling themselves down from booking the biggest suites in a hotel.
All in all, it wasn't clear to these super agents what 2009 will hold but, I must say, my sense from these four gentlemen was that they are seeing this downturn as a mere blip on the radar. The scope of their individual businesses is vast and diversified so they're not vulnerable to the loss of any one client or the demise of any one sector.
The Grand Del Mar
The Grand Del Mar was a great location for the event. The service is delivered in a friendly Southern California style and I, who watches cautiously for such things, didn't see one wrinkle in its delivery during my four-day stay. Of note was the concierge desk, which I called in error one morning at 6 a.m. instead of room service. The attendant who answered was wide awake and cheerful, and actually helped me to reserve a ride in the resort's town car over to the nearby The Lodge at Torrey Pines later that day (the Grand Del Mar provides the town car service for free within a 12 mile radius).
Other Grand Del Mar highlights? We stayed in Room 295, the one-bedroom Veranda Suite, which, while a distance from the main resort facilities, is very close to the spa and the workout room. We also loved dining inside at the Mediterranean-style Amaya (outdoor dining is also available) and a highlight of our dinner was our waiter, Ryan, whose service delivery was somehow all at once was friendly and accommodating and elegant.
The Lodge at Torrey Pines
We also took the opportunity to visit the nearby The Lodge at Torrey Pines, an amazing craftsman-style lodge that recently hosted the U.S. Open golf tournament. We met up with Steve Pelzer, the executive vice president of sales and marketing for Evans Hotels, who gave us a tour of the Blacker and Thorsten suites. These are amazing accommodations that can be closed off together to create a four-bedroom enclave with a private entrance, ideal or your celebrity clients. They also look out over the resort’s 18th hole, an amazing view for even those who are not enamored of golf.
The lodge, which sits on oceanfront property, has an agreement with Audi, which puts its newest models on display at the entrance of the resort (guests are also given access to use the luxury cars during their stay).
Another highlight of our visit to the Lodge at Torrey Pines was lunch at A.R. Valentien, whose cuisine follows the farm-to-table practice. Once you actually taste food that's been prepared along these lines (the chefs either buy the food that morning at local markets or farmers make direct deliveries to the restaurant) you get what it's all about. The flavors are just remarkable and the added benefit is that this practice is sustainable; local suppliers are being supported and there's no carbon footprint created from flying the food in from some far-off destination.
That rounds up my stay in southern California, and I guess I can say I enjoyed it all which is probably what lent itself to my remarkable agility on the security line on the way home.
By the way, here are two airline-related food observations from my trip and they're not gross. In the American Airlines terminal at JFK in New York, they've opened an upscale bistro called Vino Volo, where you can sit in a quiet environment and sample some great wines (you can even buy by the bottle). We loved it and the only dangers are you can find yourselves spending a fair amount before you've even begun your flight, which you can even risk missing if you get too comfortable in the posh setting. But we love it and highly recommend it.
My other culinary observation is that, on the way to San Diego, I paid $10 for a turkey sandwich on board my American Airlines flight. Shame on me for not bringing my own food on board but that's even more than I pay at Teresa's Cafe in our building here at 757 Third Avenue in Manhattan, and I consider that place to be the rip-off of all time. To its credit, American's turkey sandwich was pretty good and even included a few potato chips. At the very least, I hope this pricing helps American with its financial travails.
You may hear me commenting on American Airlines (although not Delta) in the coming weeks since I'm trying like heck to maintain my "elite" status with them through the end of the year. You have no idea how great it makes me feel when I can be one of the first people to get on the plane just because I have Gold status.
See, it all goes back to feeling special.
By: Ruthanne Terrero
November 04, 2008
Mexico Follows Suit With Resort Credits
We’ve seen an influx of add-on values from the Caribbean in the last few weeks, but Mexico hasn’t exactly been quiet either. In fact, it’s getting to the point where add-on values from resorts in Mexico, the Caribbean and the rest of the world, for that matter, are becoming a daily occurrence.
In fact, we aren’t even at mid-week and Travel Agent’s inbox has been cluttered with deals from $200 resort credits from Grupo Posadas, a Mexico and Latin America tour operator, to $200 savings on trips to Costa Rica, to name just a couple. Agents should advise clients to take advantage of these deals especially since they don’t often come around this time of the year.
The best deals for your clients and for the resorts are added value as opposed to discounted rates. Now, a slight savings on rates won’t hurt the long-term value on a hotel room but, if hotels get desperate and starting chopping rates down drastically, it may hurt their chances of getting repeat clients— or at least that’s how some industry professionals we spoke to on the subject feel. After all, would your clients really want to stay at a resort next year for double the price they paid this year? Perhaps not. Then again, travelers’ budgets may not be as tight next year as they are this year if a new president steps in and begins to clean up this economic mess. Regardless, added value is arguably the safest way for resorts to go, whether that be in the form of airfare or credit at the resort.
One of Mexico and Latin America’s major hoteliers, Grupos Posadas, seems to have gotten that memo. The company is offering $200 credit with a three-night stay at its AQUA Cancun property for travel now through May 31. It must be booked by February 15.
Visit www.posadas.com. Keep visiting our site as we continue to relay the great deals we get.