One On One With The Man Behind Desire’s Clothing-Optional Resorts

by James Shillinglaw
One On One With The Man Behind Desire’s Clothing-Optional Resorts

Cruz: “All of our resort product brands are for adults-only under an all-inclusive plan.”

It’s an edgier, sometimes controversial travel niche that a few travel agents have successfully targeted to make quite a lot of money. Clothing-optional and “swingers” travel, which are actually two distinctly different segments of the market, have long existed as travel specialties that only a few suppliers have targeted specifically. 

One in particular is the company that operates the Desire and Temptation resorts in Mexico. Last month it rebranded itself as Original Group, which now includes two Desire resorts, one Temptation property that is undergoing a complete renovation, charter cruises, a lifestyle website and app, and even a marina, with plans to grow even more. TMR asked Mario Cruz, concept manager for Original Group, about his company’s rebranding, resorts, charter cruises, target market and more. 

Why are you rebranding yourself as Original Group? What was behind the name choice when many of your customers know you as Desire resorts?
Since the company has been growing in such a fast rate, we decided that rebranding would be the best way to represent such growth. After decades of experience in the market and numerous successful projects, we decided to put all the family business under one brand called Original Group. Original Group is more than just resorts; we have real-estate developments, a marina, a social network called Swingee, and our most recent addition, cruises. The name is part of our core business; we are well known for being original and daring, so our group used to be call Original Resorts, and now we are Original Group.

What does your new website include and how has it changed?
The website has gotten a complete revamp and now goes hand in hand with the new design for Desire. The old website featured all the brands separately, with different URLs, and now they are all under desire_experience.com. We took a risk to show a little more erotic and conceptual images to reflect Desire’s sensual, sociable, original, discreet and exclusive qualities. Also, to capture guests that need help to re-encounter themselves and spice up the relationship, we are showcasing our experience in a sensually elegant way.

What are the major components of the Original Group? How many resorts do you currently have and how many do you project to have in the next five years? 
As of now we have two Desires resorts (Riviera Maya and Pearl) and another called Temptation that is currently under construction. We are working on the expansion of the resort collection and we plan to open two more resorts, one under each name and concept. We also are looking to develop more resorts in the Caribbean islands and Miami.

What are the differences in each resort brand and unit of Original Group—including Desire, Temptation, Premier, Swingee and the Marina Hacienda Del Mar?
All our resort product brands are for adults only under an all-inclusive plan. Desire is couples-only clothing-optional, and Temptation is couples and singles topless- optional. Both of them feature a unique entertainment program with activities that you wouldn’t find anywhere else, such as lap-dance lessons, pole-dance workshops, lingerie fashion shows and couples workshops (tantra, massages, etc.). At Desire, couples can enjoy a romantic and secluded atmosphere as well as privacy and gourmet cuisine, while Temptation is the perfect place to mingle and meet new friends, party all day long and have fun every night with superior service. All our properties offer spa services at an extra cost. 

Premier is our vacation club, where people can join and use the added values that the program offers, such as first choice on blackout dates, access to the best rooms and suites, better prices, etc. Swingee is a digital community that adds value to the hotel experience, but the Marina has no direct connection to the other concepts.

What are your target markets for the company overall and for each sub-brand specifically? What guests do they appeal to?
Temptation’s demographic profile consists of international consumers (couples and singles) over the age of 21. Our Desire target market is from 30-45 years old with a medium to medium-high socioeconomic status. The annual household income of our Temptation clients ranges from $117,000 to $140,000+. Desires’ demographic profile consists of couples from around the world with a medium or high socioeconomic level. Couples must be at least 21, with the ideal age range from 35 to 50 years old. The annual household income of our Desire clients ranges from $120,000 to $190,000+. Desire was designed for heterosexual couples (21+) who are looking for an exclusive, erotic, sensual, clothing-optional ambiance, full of freedom and respect for their lifestyle. 

The Swingee demographic profile consists of international couples and singles with a medium to medium-high socioeconomic level. They must be at least 21, but our target market ranges from 35 to 50 years old with an annual household income ranging from $40,000 to $120,000+. Swingee clients have an open mind and enjoy their sexuality without taboos, including those with experience in the lifestyle or those who are curious about it.

How large is your U.S. target market?
Based on a study made by SBI-Strategic Business Insights, 18 million adults in the United States meet the profile we seek and count with passports for travel.

How are renovating your Temptation Resort Cancun, which is set to open next year? What are you doing and how will the resort change?
The new Temptation, as we internally call it, has been built from scratch and will be the jewel of Cancun. It will change the skyline of the city, with a very original and superb design by Karim Rashid that integrates a seven-story tower with suites and penthouses with our existing buildings to create a real playground for grown-ups. We will have a state-of-the art spa and fitness center, seven restaurants and a sports bar. Our sexy pool is being taken to the ultimate level and we will offer headline DJ acts and entertainment specially designed for us. Temptation is a very popular place where you can be you and make new friendships that will last forever. It’s the perfect place for groups of friends, bachelor parties, and couples and singles alike who love to party in a free atmosphere. We are set to open in August 2017.

Do you have any plans to renovate your other resorts, like the two Desire resorts?
At Desire Riviera Maya, we are building our Desire suites, which should be ready this month. We just finished renovating our swim-up bar, main pool area and snack bar. At Desire Pearl, we just finished our new lobby area and our Gastro Bar, along with our new logo and image that comes with brand-new theme nights and activities.

What is your Desire Venice Cruise?
After years of helping some of our commercial partners in the operation of their cruises, we decide under the guidance and vision of Rodrigo de la Peña and Rafael Carranza to start our very own charter operation for a Desire Cruise. We are basically bringing the Desire essence to the sea by chartering one of the best cruise ships sailing round-trip Venice to Venice with a fantastic itinerary that will take us along the Croatian coast, Albania and the Bologna area in Italy. Desire Venice 2017 is the first of many cruises that will take our different concepts to the best ports of call around the world. It’s the very first couples-only, clothing-optional cruise ever and we are bringing the best of the best Desire experience for our guests.

How does the Marina Hacienda Del Mar fit into the Original Group? Does it cater to the same clientele?
The Marina is a public marina where local and foreign yacht owners can find first- class service with a great location. It is open (when there is space) for any type and size of yacht. It’s located in Puerto Juarez right next to one of our properties that is operated by another resort company.

How does Swingee fit into the Original Group? 
Creating an app that makes it easy to meet and mingle in our resorts was an easy decision. Our Swingee app compliments the Desire and Temptation experience.  Swingee is a platform that permits guests to explore their sensuality with freedom and without censor in a safe and consensual environment.

Do you actively work with U.S. travel agents? Do you pay commission on bookings made by travel agents?
Yes, we do. Tour operators and travel agencies make from 15% to 25% commission.

How have bookings been for your Desires Resorts in 2016? What is the outlook for 2017 in terms of bookings?
We are doing very well. We estimate that we’ll close 2016 with a 70% annual average occupancy, and for 2017 we estimate we’ll have 84% occupancy.

What other major developments do you have coming up next year and in the next five years? How will you expand the group?
As mentioned above, we are looking at the expansion of the resorts collection with two new properties in the next five years, along with five new itineraries for our cruises. We have Venice to Venice in 2017 and we already have Barcelona to Rome 2018 under the Desires concept. 

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