Niche Markets in Mexico
After years of marketing beach vacations, Mexico has developed niche markets suited to specific interests or age groups. By identifying and targeting special interests and matching them to what exists in Mexico, travel counselors can encourage clients to experience more of what the country has to offer.
To do that effectively and efficiently, you should invest in educating yourself about this fascinating country. The following is an excerpt from our newly enhanced Mexico Destination Specialist Course that is launching shortly! The Institute offers many in-depth destination courses, all of which can be found in the Premium Access Lounge.
Having a tough time deciding which niche is right for you? Join Patty Noonan CTC for her informative webinar, Specialization–Finding Your Travel Industry Niche, TOMORROW, September 15 at 12:00 pm (EDT).
Here is a sample of the many special interest options on which to focus for your Mexico-bound clients:
Weddings, Honeymoons, and Romance: Mexico has such an abundance of history and culture that many honeymooners forgo the beach in favor of other sights and activities. The most popular places for honeymoons, however, usually do have a beach focus. Among the rocky cliffs and sandy coves of the Pacific coast are some exclusive and luxurious beach resorts and hotels. For those who enjoy the gentle waters and powdery sand of the Caribbean, there are many well-appointed properties in Cancún and the Riviera Maya region.
Any honeymooners who want to parasail and snorkel one day and visit ancient Mayan ruins the next will find few destinations that can compare to Mexico. For timely tips and ideas on this particular and very popular niche in Mexico, don’t miss the upcoming free webinar, Experience Romantic Mexico, presented by Lisa Sheldon CTIE, on September 20 at 12:00 pm (EDT).
Adventure Travel: Mexico’s varied landscape of mountains, volcanoes, deserts, jungles, rivers, and oceans provides appealing adventure travel options.
Among the choices are hiking in Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta or Yucatán Peninsula jungles, kayaking in the Gulf of California, mountain biking to El Tajín in the state of Veracruz, rappelling in Veracruz, or white-water rafting in Río Santa María in the state of San Luis Potosí.
Archaeoastronomy: The Aztecs, the Maya, and other pre-Conquest peoples used the stars and constellations to develop a calendar cycle. They paid tribute to their gods by building pyramids and temples oriented toward the rising sun.
Archaeologists have determined that these celestial calculations were the basis of life and death with important events predicted by the astronomers. One niche tour product, dubbed archaeoastronomy, works to explain the methods and accuracy of the ancient astronomers.
Cultural Travel: Multiple cultures create one of the world’s richest and most diverse melting pots. Festivals and fiestas are frequent, and they often feature processions or parades that sometimes end as street parties or neighborhood celebrations.
Cultural travel also takes in visits to artisans’ workshops and local villages, as well as art and architecture tours. Some tours focus on museums to see artifacts from Mexico’s cultures—notably the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City.
Ecotourism: Birdwatching, whale watching and visiting biosphere reserves and national parks are all popular ecotourism products in Mexico. The country has 182 Protected Natural Areas covering 35 million acres. Ecotourism became a marketing concept in Mexico in the 1990s, and it remains driven by private sector tour operators and interest groups.
Gastronomy: If eating is one of life’s great delights, then travelers who enjoy tasting flavorful food and discovering new ingredients will enjoy Mexico. Beyond dining, clients can choose a cooking class or attend a culinary festival.
For example, chefs from Mexico City to Acapulco offer classes that include shopping for fresh ingredients in local produce markets or directly from producers. Autumn is the time for culinary festivals, including Oaxaca’s Food of the Gods Festival and Puerto Vallarta’s Gourmet Festival.
Golf: Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Robert Trent Jones Jr., and other noted designers have created golf courses in the Tourist Corridor—a 20-mile (33 km) section of beautiful, expansive beaches, world-class golf courses, and luxurious resorts linking the cities of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo.
Additionally, the Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta areas have designer courses with views ranging from marinas and bays to mountain foothills and jungle vegetation. Maya regions number several top courses among their attractions.
Scuba Diving: Cozumel is a prime destination for those who want to see huge, colorful coral formations and pinnacles. South of Cancún, along the Riviera Maya, there are several underwater operators. Farther south, near Belize, the Costa Maya is a prime spot for access to the Banco Chinchorro coral atoll shipwreck.
Isla Mujeres, northeast of Cancún, contains the Sleeping Sharks Cave, which allows sharks to be motionless while they rest, as if they are sleeping. Divers enjoy the Gulf of California with operators in Loreto, La Paz, Cabo Pulmo, and Los Cabos. Hammerheads and manta rays are the draw to seamounts (underwater mountains) south of Los Cabos.
Other Travel Niches: Most clients will have multiple interests, enabling travel counselors to pick several tours suited to an individual, couple, family, or group dynamic. Specialty clubs and museum groups offer tours suited to artists, rock hounds, photographers, motorcyclists, botanists, and those with other various interests.
Mexico remains a popular destination for North American clients. Therefore, there is much to be gained from immersing yourself in this distinctive destination. And, as always, be sure to check the varying reopening dates, operating hours, and availability of attractions and accommodations and consult sources like the U.S. State Department, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) before booking your clients.