Los Cabos Powers Forward

The future looks bright for this popular vacation destination in Baja California Sur

By: By Mindy Poder and Mark Rogers

Los Cabos Powers Forward // (c) 2009

 Patricia Fahie and Gonzalo Franyutti of the Los Cabos Convention & Visitors Bureau and Jorge Gamboa Patron of the Mexico Tourism Board at the Montage Beverly Hills // © 2009

Los Cabos is in a constant state of enhancing itself as a tourism destination. This shouldn’t be confused with an attempt at reinvention, since Los Cabos continues to embrace the elements that created its appeal in the first place. It has been a refuge for sportsfishermen (including Hollywood celebrities such as John Wayne) as well as a premier golf and spa resort destination. Indeed, over the years, Los Cabos has retained its reputation of being a multi-faceted locale offering everything from desert Hummer tours to great nightlife options.

Gonzalo Franyutti, the president of Los Cabos Convention & Visitors Bureau (Los Cabos CVB), is quick to point out the appeal of Los Cabos.

“You can go to San Jose del Cabo for a quaint Mexican experience and then go to Cabo San Lucas to party. It’s a 20-mile drive between the two — only 10 miles if your hotel is in the tourism corridor,” he told TravelAge West at the Los Cabos CVB press breakfast held recently at the Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Franyutti noted that future efforts will focus on promoting Baja Sur as a destination offering meaningful vacation experiences beyond Los Cabos.
“It’s like promoting Southern California by showcasing San Diego, Disneyland and Los Angeles,” said Franyutti. “If we look at a broader view of the area, we’ll capture more business.”

Franyutti also pointed out that Los Cabos has the highest ratio of rental cars to hotel rooms in all of Mexico, with 3,000 vehicles to 12,000 rooms, making it convenient for visitors to set out to explore on their own.

“The four-lane highway between Los Cabos and La Paz has improved, and it’s only a two-hour drive between them,” he said. “Todos Santos is also a popular daytrip and is only an hour away by car.”

On the Horizon
Next month, two very different resorts will open in Los Cabos, the all-inclusive 250-room Barcelo Los Cabos, which will target both the leisure and meetings market, and the Zoetry Casa del Mar los Cabos, a 32-suite, hacienda-style beachfront hotel. Further down the road, in January 2011, phase one of the Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa will open. The Montage Los Cabos, a luxury hotel built on the site of the former twin Dolphins Hotel, will open about a year later.

Los Cabos stakes a claim to have more championship golf courses than any destination in Mexico. The destination’s golf product will be enhanced even further by eight golf courses in the pipeline. Four of these courses are scheduled to open in 2010.

Getting the Message Out
Instead of ignoring Mexico’s year of bad publicity, Los Cabos has created a series of print ads that address the perceived problems with wry wit and warmth. For example, the tagline “Don’t forget your shots” shows two young girls downing Jell-O shots in a nightclub, while the tagline “Wash your hands frequently” is illustrated by a surfer deep in the barrel of a wave.

The Los Cabos CVB recently launched a new social media program called Featured Hotel of the Week. The program showcases a single Los Cabos resort or hotel via the Los Cabos CVB’s Twitter address @LosCabosCVB and Facebook fan page. Featured properties receive coverage of upcoming events, special amenities at the resort and current travel packages and promotions. The CVB’s social media networks will also have updates about the destination overall. Picking featured hotels is done on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Like many other vacation destinations, Los Cabos’ hoteliers are leaning heavily on value-added packages to lure visitors rather than slashing room rates. This has led to prospective travelers waiting until the last minute to book travel, just in case an even more appealing promotion becomes available.

“Even the group business has a shorter booking window,” said Franyutti, who also noted that the downside to booking at the last-minute is the difficulty in arranging all the special activities and tours a traveler might desire to round out their vacation.

Los Cabos Convention & Visitors Bureau