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The Royal Playa del Carmen is officially a thing of the past. But that’s a good thing, according to officials from Playa Hotels & Resorts and Hilton, who gathered at the Mexico property in September to announce a new strategic alliance that will place the Hilton name on three all-inclusive properties this year, with several more to come.
The alliance will first result in three rebranded properties: Hilton Playa del Carmen (formerly The Royal); Hilton La Romana in the Dominican Republic; and Hilton Rose Hall in Jamaica. All are owned and managed by Playa, and the company plans to partner with Hilton to open eight additional all-inclusive resorts in the Mexico/Caribbean region by 2025.
The debut of Hilton-branded all-inclusive resorts will allow both companies — as well as travel agents and others who sell travel — to take advantage of previously untapped markets, according to Kevin Froemming, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Playa.
“With the partnership that Hilton has with us now, one of our first strategies is to leverage that customer base,” he said. “When you talk about the 75 million Hilton HHonors guests who are now part of our portfolio, and who we now have access to, this is a market where almost 90 percent of those customers have never experienced an all-inclusive resort.” Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton, told attendees during the Hilton-Playa announcement that the new partnership makes strategic sense.
“The thing we know in talking with our customers, and customers who aren’t ours, is that this is a product they want,” he said. “There’s a spectacular value proposition associated with all-inclusive hotels. By virtue of expanding our business and our partnership with Playa, we are going to be able to serve more customers and acquire a whole bunch of new customers.”
The thing we know in talking with our customers, and customers who aren’t ours, is that this is a product they want.
In November, The Royal Playa del Carmen, an all-inclusive, adults-only property that’s centrally located in one of the Riviera Maya’s most popular tourism towns, will officially become Hilton Playa del Carmen.
“We’re taking a very good resort that has a lot of historical loyalty from customers and putting an international brand on it,” Froemming said.
But the changes go beyond the name. From November 2018 through November 2019, the property will undergo a $20 million upgrade that will add a new, larger fitness center and spa, as well as redesigned guestrooms, restaurants and public areas.
To make it easier for travel agents to sell the new product, Froemming says that Playa will introduce a new travel agency booking engine in the first quarter of 2019.
“We will have the best technology and integrative functions,” he said. “It’s a travel agency portal that’s built from the perspective of the travel agent. We have engaged — and continue to engage — travel agents in the design.”
The Hilton partnership follows in the footsteps of Playa’s existing alliance with Hyatt, through which Playa operates Ziva and Zilara brands in Mexico and the Caribbean.
“We’re going to continue to use our strategy of outsourcing branding,” Froemming said, noting the advantages of putting recognizable brand names on all-inclusive product. “The biggest single opportunity in the all-inclusive market is that the vast majority of customers haven’t been exposed to the all-inclusive space.”
Playa Hotels & Resortswww.playaresorts.com