When Travel Market Report surveyed our readers about selling Mexico this year, more than 400 responded. And not surprisingly, many not only answered the question about what the Mexico Tourist Board can do to help them sell our neighbor to the south, but wrote in their thoughts on the issue.
(Note: The average agent in our survey sells $1.5 million in personal sales and has more than 15 years of industry experience. The survey was conducted March 21-22.)
The most helpful step, the agents said, is providing more information and communications about safety—a suggestion made by almost a third of the respondents (31%).
Tied for second were agents who said the MTB is doing all it can do and couldn’t suggest anything more (19%), but 18% of agents said they would like to see Mexico do more consumer advertising in North America.
Eleven percent of agents said they would like more communications from the tourist board directed at them. Eight percent suggested more Fam trips to hgelp them experience and better understand what they are selling, and 6% said better pricing is needed. Four percent of agents said they would like more or better training on how to sell Mexico and its travel products.
In terms of safety, agents nearly unanimously say they themselves believe Mexico is a safe destination, particularly in tourist areas and where resorts are located. Still, though, they are not sure their customers feel the same way. They believe the MTB needs to do more to get the story out to both the trade and the general public.
Agents also believe that the MTB needs to be more proactive in disseminating the data to consumer media and more aggressive in telling a positive story. A number of agents suggested Mexico should address the safety question in its advertising and marketing to reassure consumers that there is no cause for concern.
One agent wrote, “I spend six months a year in Puerto Vallarta, and it’s very safe.” But another said she would like to see more statistics about the safety in the individual tourist areas. “There’s a misperception. I know it’s safe, but we need more data that we can share,” she wrote.
In the area of advertising and public relations, 18% of the travel agent respondents said there are opportunities to be more aggressive—and especially to emphasize that Mexicans are friendly and welcoming to North American tourists, and that visitors can expect a hospitable welcome despite the politics of the moment. On the public relations side, one agent wrote, “Get the media to stop bashing Mexico.”
Just one in 10 agents suggested MTP increase communications to travel agents about new and renovated hotels, fairs and festivals, and new experiences and attractions. Other common requests included more fam trips and more training, including better training and more workshops in more places.
Perhaps as a sign of the strength of Mexico’s diverse tourism offerings, only three agents out of almost 450 who responded said there is a need for new products or concepts. One agent suggested pay-to-play VIP services at the airports, so clients can get in and out more quickly. Another would like to see timeshare sellers banned from hassling clients at the airport.