According to the latest Virtuoso Luxe Report, the desire to be a “traveler rather than a tourist” is one of the top trends for 2018. In other words, the days when travelers were satisfied with nothing more than a cocktail by the pool are long gone. Today’s vacationers crave unique and memorable experiences.
In the North American market, Mexico is especially well positioned to capitalize on the demand for experiential travel. The nation’s proximity, attractive exchange rate and accessibility enhance its diverse culture, traditions and natural attributes. And Mexico-savvy travel agents know how to put it all together to create irresistible packages for their clients.
“Without a doubt this is a growing market, surprisingly for all age groups,” says Elly Sterlacci, president of All Inclusive Reservations in Windsor, Colorado. “For many years, I have made a point—while on business or personal trips—of not only seeing resorts, but also experiencing local history and culture, and local, authentic Mexican foods. My clients love when I share my knowledge and excitement with them. Most clients are looking to get away from their everyday ‘normal’ life.”
Sally Jane Smith, president and CEO of TravelSmiths in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, agrees about Mexico’s appeal for immersive vacations. “Experiential travel is incredibly important, especially when we’re talking about Mexico,” she says. “Mexico is filled with rich culture, incredible ruins, and their fabulous indigenous food. Our clients love having all of this right in our backyard. The proximity to these immersive experiences only helps to grow our business there.”
Increased demand for tailor-made, immersive activities is partly due to social media, according to Kim Goldstein, president of Journeys Inc. in Richmond, Virginia. “Just like everything in life, clients want customization,” she explains. “Social media is a big driver in this new trend, because anyone can easily see what others are experiencing. Many millennials rank their vacation on how they can showcase it on Instagram.”
Suppliers also report an increase in demand for unique experiences. “Today’s travelers are more sophisticated in terms of their desire to really embrace the history and culture of Mexico, and they love adventure,” says Timothy Mullen, president of Apple Vacations. “While ten or twenty years ago, our most popular excursions were snorkeling and catamaran tours, today’s travelers love whale shark programs in Playa Mujeres, Mayan eco-adventures in Cancun/Riviera Maya, swimming with stingrays in Cozumel, zip lining in Vallarta, and outback and camel safaris in Los Cabos.”
While immersive experiences are plentiful and easily accessible throughout Mexico’s most popular vacation spots, it’s up to the travel advisor to help clients choose the ones that will have the greatest impact on their vacation and create a seamless experience for those clients in the process.
Source: Travel Weekly