|The new "Cancun Spot" sign on Playa Delfines.|
Fresh off a record-breaking year, Cancun shows no signs of losing its momentum. With more than 4.8 million visitors in 2014, prospects look even better for the Mexican Caribbean destination in 2015. That’s the outlook from the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau as the peak booking season gets underway.
A number of factors are lifting up Cancun’s occupancy rates, average hotel spend and overall tourist economy. New flights and connections on carriers such as Southwest, Alaska and Frontier are making Mexico’s top beach destination even more accessible. Add to that an impressive string of awards and distinctions from top consumer review sites; plus a hotel scene that brings a kaleidoscope of visitors.
Still, the big draw for those visitors is the destination itself. That’s what Frank Corzo, vice president of U.S. field sales for Palace Resorts, tells Travel Agent.
Corzo’s company is in the news with $100 million in renovations to its flagship property, Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort in Cancun. Also in the Palace Resorts portfolio are Beach Palace, Sun Palace and Le Blanc Spa Resort in Cancun; Cozumel Palace on Cozumel; Playacar Palace in Playa del Carmen and Isla Mujeres Palace on Isla Mujeres. The company will open the 700-suite Moon Palace Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, in May.
Keeping up with hotel developments is one thing. But it’s also crucial for agents to know how much Cancun itself has evolved, said Corzo.
Ongoing infrastructure improvements have transformed and expanded the Cancun experience. There’s much more in the works, according to the Cancun CVB. A dedicated push by the Mexican federal government is bringing more than $14 million in investment to Quintana Roo state in 2015. Among other projects, funds will go toward developing five different beaches in Northern Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Holbox (all marketed collectively under the Cancun umbrella).
Private investment continues at a competitive pace as well. In addition to Moon Palace, a number of other Cancun resorts are rebranding and renovating. AMResorts has renovated and rebranded the Grand Oasis Viva into the Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa. And the former Hotel Villa Rolandi is now Zoetry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres, an AMResorts Zoetry Wellness & Spa Resort.
“Guests have access to a secluded beach, and one of the best restaurants on Isla Mujeres. That, combined with the atmosphere of the boutique-like 35-suite resort, make it the epitome of the brand’s signature Endless Privileges experience,” AMResorts president Gonzalo del Peon tells Travel Agent.
New hotels making recent debuts in Cancun include Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort, Emporio Family Suites Cancun and the Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa on the Riviera Cancun. The latter is a Blue Diamond Hotels & Resorts property.
Janine Chapman, vice president of marketing for Royalton Resorts, tells Travel Agent that top selling points for families include free Wi-Fi and a Sports Event Guarantee. Moreover, “the Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun is a unique adults-only boutique hotel within a resort,” said Chapman.
Additional attractions for Cancun visitors include a new Cirque du Soleil show, Joya. And a colorful new Cancun sign (dubbed the Cancun Spot) on Playa Delfines is expected to become a tourist landmark.
With a setting that’s constantly evolving, even the most venerable companies must stay on their toes. Palace Resorts will continue to promote high-powered entertainment acts as a big selling point. But the brand is also casting its net toward high-powered business conferences.
The Moon Palace renovations added a 140,000 square-foot convention center called Moon Palace Arena. It’s already hosted more than 700 agents at the first annual Palace Experience Global Conference. Palace Resorts will soon invite agents to this year’s gathering, set for September.