Dispatch, Cancun: Enlisting ambassadors



Travel Weekly Editor in Chief Arnie Weissmann was in Cancun for the Mexico Tourism Board's Travel Industry Summit. Arnie's second and final dispatch follows. Click to read his first dispatch.  

The day that I checked out of Le Blanc Spa Resort after attending the Mexico Tourist Board Travel Industry Summit, someone left a personalized letter on my desk. 

The first paragraph was thanking me for staying there, hoping everything was to my satisfaction, and that I would return.

That in itself was not very unusual, but the letter went on for another three paragraphs:

“As you know, Mexico has been experiencing difficult times along its U.S. border cities, some 1,231 miles away from Cancun. Unfortunately, there are many people who think that the entire country is having the same safety issues, and are unaware of what you have seen and experienced during your visit: the peace and tranquility that can be enjoyed in Cancun, its beaches, streets and attractions.

“Tourism is one of Mexico’s leading sources of employment. Unfortunately, potential travelers having second thoughts about visiting our country is jeopardizing the jobs of many dedicated, hardworking, honest and good people, which has an impact on the families of our hotel employees as well as our whole city.

We would be grateful for your help, if you can become an Ambassador of Cancun and of Le Blanc Spa Resort, just by talking to your friends, family, colleagues or maybe even to your local newspapers, radio, TV stations and social media about your stay, spreading the word about the reality you were able to experience while on vacation in Mexico. This will surely help dispel some of the negative press talking and wrong perceptions that can seriously damage tourism in our country.”

The letter was signed by Le Blanc’s general manager, Andreas Schmidt.

I thought the letter was very well done, and potentially as effective as anything I had seen in the efforts to put Mexico’s problems in the context of Mexico’s offerings. I spoke with Ekatrina Smolentseva of Le Blanc’s public relation’s office and asked if this was a Le Blanc initiative or part of some broader effort.

She said it was a Palace Resorts initiative (Le Blanc is part of the Palace Resorts group). Knowing that, it’s not surprising that so much emphasis was put on the potential hardships of the employees. After Hurricane Wilma in 2005, the group’s CEO, Rafael Chapur, did not let one employee go during the extensive cleanup effort.

I wouldn’t be surprised if other hotel groups in Mexico have drafted similar letters for guests. But if you have stayed in a property in Mexico and did not receive something similar, please forward them a link to this article with the suggestion they prepare something similar.

Mexico has no advertising message as powerful as firsthand testimony from an unbiased observer.

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