I had to share with you what I’ve been up to for the last few weeks, and that was LOVE MEXICO, yes LOVE MEXICO. If you don’t yet know it, make sure to check it out if you’re in the travel industry. This edition of Love Mexico had an outstanding response from wedding planner and travel agents specializing in U.S., Canada and Mexico, Love Mexico closed its eighth edition, repeating for the third consecutive year, due to the demand and interest of the wedding planners in Riviera Maya, and with record registration, sold out 3 months in advance of the event date.
Love Mexico, is these days the most recognized event to promote Mexico as a destination for weddings and romance. This event is organized by Mexico Wed with the support of the Destination Marketing office of Riviera Maya and the Mexico Tourism Board, and it has positioned itself as a reference for professionals in destination weddings in the U.S. and Canada and a generator of business for Mexico. 130 international wedding planners and international personalities of the industry classified as A-List Destination Wedding Planners, stars of the television programs “Married Away” and “Whose Wedding is it Anyway” and the CEO’s of the major conglomerates that generate weddings to México attended the 2011 edition of Love Mexico Riviera Maya.
These professionals have an annual business of $49 million USD. in the understanding that on average each of the participants considered to organize about 5 weddings per year in Mexico. To a destination wedding attend in average 63 people with an average stay of 2.5 nights and an average expenditure per person of $1,300 USD. The budget of weddings organized by these professionals is $10,000 usd to $3,000,000 usd for that it represents a business for a very wide range of local suppliers.
Kitzia Morales, Partner of Love Mexico shared that “During the 3 events of Love Mexico performed in 2011 (Nueva York-Los Angeles-Riviera Maya) more than 500 wedding planners of U.S. and Canada have been trained and connected directly to Mexico’s specialized offer and we have reached over 6,000 professionals of the industry through our online releases and social networks”.
As a proud Mexico promoter, we are very happy to trust Love Mexico for it has the endorsement and recognition of the most important International Associations in the wedding industry and for the first time gathered the three presidents of the leaders associations: Richard Markel, President of AFWPI– Association for Wedding Professionals International, David Wood, President of ABC- Association for Bridal Consultants and Danielle Andrews Sunkel, President of WPIC– The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada.
Love Mexico concept consists of an intensive educational program and a business forum through pre-established appointments where Mexican’s representatives of hotels, resorts and several companies with wedding products make connections and close business with North American destination weddings professionals.
The exhibitors that attended the event were more than 80 representatives of 48 companies and destinations in Mexico that provide wonderful options for destination weddings. Among the exhibitors were the Destination Marketing office of Riviera Maya, Karisma hotels, Barceló hotels, AM Resorts, Grand Velas, Palace Resorts, Riu, Puerto Vallarta, Baja California Sur, Michoacán, San Miguel de Allende, Yucatán, Excellence Resorts, Blue bay, Grand Sirenis, IVI , among many others. The Mexico Tourism Board and 11 Mexican destinations provided valuable information to international wedding planners to help organize a wedding in Mexico.
This year in Love Mexico Riviera Maya, were more than 3,000 one-to-one appointments and a record breaking number of solid leads confirming that Love Mexico is a productive platform where real business is conducted. The positive feedback about the quality of the event and the business resulted from the one-to-one appointments was huge and the participants ended the event with new fresh and creative ideas to offer to their clients.
With the supplier positions sold out since late October, Love Mexico included interactive and innovative learning events including 2 boot camps specially designed for travel agents and for wedding planners and a friendly competition “The Top Destination Wedding Planners for Mexico Challenge” having Jill Schoenfelder as the winner, who showed a great knowledge and skills on how to sell Mexico for weddings.
Besides the amazing learning opportunity provided by this educational event with a familiarization trip style, agents, planners and myself where offered a tremendous opportunity to enjoy “post tours” and discover some magnificent some wedding locations & resorts in the area such as Diamant Secret Jewel, Grand Velas Riviera Maya –which I already know since having been Weddings Manager- for this dream locale, and then also offered stays at condo hotels project. And let me tell you, a growing trend of destination weddings is offering lower costs, gorgeous settings, and such options as condos for the whole family instead of traditional hotel rooms, and can personally relate to this “product” line also first hand, I’m former Sales Director of luxury condo hotel project in Northern Mexico –Las Palomas-, it is for many cases the best of options, and in general a truly fantastic “deal”, a very smart formula for groups, and in this case in particular, for weddings.
“Cost is a major factor why a couple will choose a destination instead of a wedding in their area,” says Richard Markel, President of AFWPI (Association for Wedding Professional International). The group that is attending a destination wedding will be smaller, and because “the bride and groom are not responsible to cover hotel nights, only those that really want to go will attend,” he explains. Considering many airlines have direct flights to Cancun from multiple US cities, such as JetBlue, American Airlines, US Airways, and even during low season, being possible to snatch up roundtrip tickets for about $300, it is no wonder Riviera Maya is the destination of choice for a vast majority of US travelers,
As mentioned, I was hosted by Jack Perlman a foreign but soon adopted ‘Quintanaroense’ developer in Playa del Carmen who had a vision, a BIG one and quickly understood the potential of high end properties in a celestial-like location such as the one found in Riviera Maya, then of course thinking of the many needs of special groups such as the one of destination weddings created a very welcoming environment for groups as his CONDO HOTELS group offers luxury apartments beach front and first row, we are talking high end, 1-2 bedroom units, with kitchens, decks, terraces with balconies and outdoor hot tubs, luxury ad pampering, so conveniently located n Playa del Carmen, ideal for friends, couples & families traveling for the price of one room at a regular hotel.
I was strategically placed at the oceanfront 3 bedroom condo –even when I was traveling by myself- at El Taj, so exquisitely decorated, and desgined that feels lush and psh, but in no way overwhelming. Also I got to enjoy, one of my favorite beach clubs in Playa del Carmen, that is Indigo Beach Club, located at El Taj Oceanfront, that as I learned offers multiple dinner and reception options for guests of let’s say wedding groups. I was explained that sit-down dinner rates start at $36 per person and include a 3-course gourmet meal in their weddings packages. Not only that but surprisingly rates at Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen start at $185 per one bedroom unit & cherry on top wedding groups receive a 20% discount.
Also a new mode for condo hotels operations is the all-inclusive options to be offered for special groups & wedding guests, including a free Romance Package for brides and grooms that offers such luxuries as free airport transportation, couples massage, romantically decorated suite and a bottle of champagne. A brand new pier right in front of Indigo’s waterfront will feature a beautiful arch, “so that couples can say “I do” right amidst the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, a unique offer in the Mexican Caribbean,” Perlman said.
Not only I loved my #LOVEMEXICO experience of last week and the opportunity to learn and share tons with wedding industry enthusiasts from USA & Mexico, the presentation about Mexico I did or the network with were able to put together, etc., but I had the opportunity to unwind, for the first time in very long, call it the sedating visions of gorgeous white sand shores of the Mexican Caribbean, swimming with friends at Yalku Cove close to Akumal, or dancing the nights’ out together under influence of a full moon or its full lunar eclipse… Call it whatever, but fun times were spent with friends, old and new, proffesionals, passionate, hard working, appreciative, very happy individuals.
Minty, Kitzia, Eduardo, thanks for allowing me to be part of this magical ride, I so truly, madly deeply #LOVEMEXICO and the wonderful people we get to share it with.
Thanks to all my industry family, friends, old and new for a wonderful closing of this ‘2011 Extraordinaire’. Happy B-day to me. Happy holidays to you all.