Mexico's Many Group Attractions

The group appeal of this perennial favorite continues to grow

Hotel Xcaret Mexico

Although many are disgruntled by the decision by major hotel chains to cut commissions paid to third-party meeting planners, there is one destination that may benefit: Mexico.

A three-and-a-half-hour flight from Northeast and Northwest corners of the United States, the city of Cancun, Mexico, has all the elements in place to service meeting and incentive groups. Riveting culture, sprawling beaches, first-class resorts, and a bustling nightlife combine with affordability to make this a highly attractive meeting option.

Among the beneficiaries of Marriott's commission-cutting move, say some, are properties like Marriott Cancun Resort and JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, sister properties that offer 898 guest rooms, a 35,000-square-foot Mayan-inspired JW Spa, numerous pools, a sprawling beach, first-rate restaurants, and 88,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space.

Commission cuts aside, Cancun is a perennial favorite with meeting and incentive groups. And its advanced meeting infrastructure is about to get better as the Cancun, Riviera Maya, Cozumel, Isla Holbox, and Isla Mujeres convention and visitors bureaus join together into one Quintana Roo CVB. (Qintana Roo is the northeastern section of the Yucatan Peninsula.) Dario Flota Ocampo, former president of the Riviera Maya CVB, heads up this new organization.

"Dario is the best choice the governor and secretary of tourism could have made. He has been in the industry for more than 25 years," says Andy Ortiz, president of the Global Incentive Management DMC and a past president of the MPI Mexico Chapter. "It will be a one-stop shop as one call will get you help with five destinations."

Ortiz points out that 90 percent of Mexican resorts are all-inclusives.

Xcaret Ecological Park Cancun has long been a favorite of meeting planners. Built around the site of an ancient well where the Mayans performed purification rituals, this archaeological park features a nighttime show with more than 300 actors that highlights the history of Mexico, with music, colorful costumes, and dancing. During the day, there is a 72-degree subterranean river on which to float, natural whirlpool baths, a botanical garden, and butterfly pavilion, as well as an area where you can swim with dolphins.

A new addition is the 900-suite Hotel Xcaret Mexico, a five-star property that rethinks the all-inclusive concept, as accommodations at the hotel also include complimentary access to Experiencias Xcaret's eight nature parks and tours. The resort features 10 restaurants, eight bars, and the Muluk Spa, with treatments performed in cabins set within natural rock caves.

Hotel Xcaret is the beginning of an ambitious 10-year plan for Destination Xcaret, a tourism development that will span more than 914 acres and will have 6,000 guest rooms at its completion. Plans also include a stadium that will be able to accommodate 12,000 spectators, a convention center, a shopping center, and culinary destination called Pueblo del Río.

"What was an ambitious vision that began 25 years ago, today has become a dream come true. Hotel Xcaret Mexico invites travelers to celebrate history and culture," says Marcos Constandse, CEO of Destino Xcaret.

Haven Resorts Cancun by Hipotels is another new hotel being built in Cancun, set to open in September. Once complete, Haven Resorts Cancun will offer guests 333 rooms, five restaurants, two snack bars, nine bars, and spa services. For meetings and events, the resort will have indoor and outdoor spaces.

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This article appears in the May 2018 issue of Successful Meetings.