EconomyFinancialHoteliers bet on the 'VIP all-inclusive' to attract US...

Hoteliers bet on the 'VIP all-inclusive' to attract US travelers

The pandemic froze tourism in the world for several months, but despite the gurus who claimed that nothing would ever be the same, 2021 has shown the resilience of the industry, especially large resorts and all-inclusives. And Mexico is a key piece to take advantage of the trend.

The reactivation of the tourism sector in the country has been a priority. The borders have never closed, even with the appearance of new variants, and the requirements to allow entry to foreign visitors are much lower than in other places. This, apart from health considerations, has led the vacation segment to recover faster than, for example, business trips.

“Business hotels are a necessity. The pleasure ones, and particularly the all-inclusive ones , are there to fill a wish”, considers Danny Hughes, president of Hilton for the Americas, a hotel chain that is reinforcing its presence in this segment in Mexico. “The all-inclusive is designed for people to spend time with each other. Instead, much of the business travel is solo, the client stays in a corporate hotel to attend business or attend a convention.

It is in this environment that the big chains are presenting new projects.

Hilton opened a new all-inclusive in Cancun as part of a resort that in May 2022 will introduce its most luxurious brand, Waldorf Astoria. Wyndham has chosen Mexico as its starting point in the segment, through a new brand, Alltra, which will have a presence through an alliance with Playa Hotels & Resorts. Similarly, the Marriott chain signed a partnership with Blue Diamond Resorts with a view to becoming one of the top 10 all-inclusive competitors globally by 2025.

In the long term, hotel chains are attracted to destinations already consolidated in Mexico, which are even more competitive in a context where travel restrictions remain in much of the world and given the uncertainty of many people regarding long trips. , explains Jennifer Granados, manager of the Market Research area of the firm CBRE.

“This was a trend prior to the pandemic, where Mexico was seen as a strong investment destination, because this did not start in 2020. Hotels already had these projects on paper long before,” he says.

According to a Deloitte report, the preference for the all-inclusive segment has been maintained for at least the last four years. And it has weathered the pandemic. According to the study by this consulting firm, in 2015, 40% of a sample of those surveyed planned to make a reservation at an all-inclusive hotel for the summer; in 2020, the rate was 52%, as it is a popular scheme, mainly among vacationers with children.

“The popularity of all-inclusive resorts appears intact, with more than half of those surveyed planning an ‘all-inclusive’ vacation, and one in five undecided. Two-thirds of respondents with children under the age of 16 said it was their preferred option.

Now, hotel chains are looking to take this segment one step further, with a focus on offering more luxury. This is the case of Hyatt, to the point that it announced the acquisition of the Apple Leisure Group resort firm in August 2021, with the intention of becoming the largest all-inclusive luxury resort operator in the world. A strategy that, in Mexico, will lead it to expand its presence from nine to 46 complexes.

“Mexico is experiencing an increase in demand from the national and US markets, which represents an opportunity to continue growing our business with the intention of introducing new hotels that meet the needs and lifestyles of our guests and our customers,” says Camilo Bolaños, Vice President of Development for the Americas at Hyatt. “Demand for leisure travel remains strong through the recovery from the pandemic and is a key factor in how we are recovering in Mexico and abroad,” he adds.

Hotel performance data during the pandemic reflects this preference. Between January and October 2021, accommodations located in beach destinations accumulated an occupancy rate of 45.1% on average, 12.5 percentage points more than city hotels, which reported 32.6%, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism.

“We honestly believe that as horrible and tragic as the pandemic has been, there has never been a better time to open resorts. Travel is an unstoppable force. People want to interact with each other, and what better place to do that than Mexico?” concludes Hughes.

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