Lourdes Berho, CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board, speaking at Campeche Summit // © 2017 Mexico Tourism Board
Feature image (above): The event took place at the Campeche convention center. // © 2017 Mexico Tourism Board
Campeche Summit took place in Campeche, a coastal city on the Yucatan peninsula. But the long-term results of the event will affect the entire nation, as the Mexico Tourism Board moves forward with an ambitious new strategy to take its tourism industry to the next level.
The new program will likely affect how travelers — and people who sell travel — receive information, advertising and promotional material related to Mexico. Using what they call a “digital ecosystem,” the Mexico Tourism Board is largely shunning mass marketing, aiming instead for direct connections with a wider variety of special-interest travelers.
The conference, which took place in December, was hosted by Enrique de la Madrid, tourism minister of Mexico, and Lourdes Berho, CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board. Tourism industry professionals from more than 40 destinations across Mexico were also in attendance.
New technology and marketing tactics are crucial to growth for Mexico’s tourism sector, Berho says.
“To reach today’s travelers, you have to understand what drives them from consideration to planning and finally boarding the plane to visit,” she said. “It’s critical to lead them to buying by engaging them in a genuine way through the content they interact with — which we are seeing is going more mobile. By understanding what they need, we can then communicate what they want in a more direct and genuine way through an easy-to-reach vehicle they use on a daily basis.”
The so-called digital ecosystem includes a series of related projects and platforms, designed to help the travel industry get a better handle on what vacationers want. Included in the plans are research studies to evaluate the preferences of various market segments, as well as statistical analysis of Mexico’s tourism efforts, so officials and the private sector can determine what’s working and what’s not working.
A new content generator unit will provide text, images and videos to better promote tourism, while new customer relationship management tools will allow officials to create personalized content and provide live chat services with consumers. A redesigned Mexico Tourism Board site and app is also in the works.
Already, independent international research has been released internally to provide a closer look at trends and opportunities in key markets, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.
As part of its efforts to diversify and fine-tune its marketing to specific audiences, the Mexico Tourism Board also plans to expand beyond its long-standing emphasis on “sun and beach,” to more actively promote the allure of its historic, cultural, culinary and nature-oriented tourism offerings.
Mexico’s new transportation options and infrastructure upgrades are considered a boon that will help tourism officials and the private sector better sell a wider array of destinations and travel experiences, according to officials. New flights have already started linking Mexico and the U.S., thanks to an air transport agreement that went into effect in 2016.
Meanwhile, the brand-new airport scheduled to rise outside of Mexico City in the coming years will increase capacity in the nation’s biggest transit hub, potentially adding more connections and links around the country for multi-destination travel.
Other infrastructure boosts include a new highway linking Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, which is scheduled to open in 2018. Reduced ground travel time between the two destinations could make it easier to market multicity vacation packages.
An active partnership between the public and private sectors is key for the success of the new tourism strategy, according to Berho.