Millennials with money get the attention of Mexico’s suppliers

A guestroom at the Downtown Mexico City, a Grupo Habita property.
A guestroom at the Downtown Mexico City, a Grupo Habita property. Photo Credit: Undine Prohl
Meagan Drillinger
Meagan Drillinger

Millennials are not new to Mexico. Whether it’s an all-inclusive beachfront resort getaway or a budget-style hostel deep in the jungle, millennials have been exploring the country for many years.

But lately a new breed of millennial traveler has been flocking south of the border. These travelers have money to burn and want to see what Mexico has to offer beyond its sandy shores.

The St. Regis Mexico City has recognized this trend and has responded by appointing a chief millennials officer, 26-year-old Alejandra Ramirez, who has a degree in hotel management from Cessa University in Mexico City. Her role is still being defined, but Ramirez will be spending a good deal of time speaking with millennial guests about what is important and significant to them in the hotel experience. An in another facet of the job, she will be conducting monthly meetings with millennials in the resort’s workforce in an effort to identify any generational challenges that may arise and to help them grow and flourish in their career. (The property said millennials make up about 57% of the staff.)

“In Mexico you see this uptick in [affluent] millennials everywhere,” said Lillian Aviles, director of leisure sales at St. Regis Mexico City and St. Regis Punta Mita Resort. “You see them doing the art experience and culinary experiences of Mexico City. In other parts of the country, whether it’s Tulum or Punta Mita, we’re seeing people drawn to sporty events like beach festivals, as well.”

Tour operators have seen the uptick, as well, and are tailoring their products to appeal to this niche of young travelers.

“We’ve seen a spike in millennial travel, especially to Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, and Oaxaca,” says Zachary Rabinor, CEO of Journey Mexico, a luxury travel company that specializes in high-end, customized travel. “Interests focus on cuisine, art and culture mixing high-brow and street-savvy, sometimes in quick succession.”

Rabinor gives an example of private, off-hours access to the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City, followed by a walking taco/mezcal/pulqueria experience. “Another trend is towards in-the-know ‘hosts’ instead of traditional guides that can make millennials feel like invited guests instead of gawky tourists.”

The last few years Mexico has seen a boom in trendy, lifestyle resorts that cater specifically to the under-40 “chic” market. The company at the forefront of this is Grupo Habita, which since 1996 has been reshaping the boutique hotel landscape in Mexico. Each of Grupo Habita’s unique properties across Mexico blends today’s design trends to include the latest technology with a vintage vibe and threads of Mexican culture. The company has properties in Mexico City, Acapulco, Puerto Escondido, Veracruz, Monterrey and Guadalajara.

Thompson Hotels is another company that had younger travelers on its radar screen for a while. The company has two properties in Mexico, the Cape in Cabo San Lucas and the Thompson Playa Del Carmen. Both have a distinct focus on cuisine, art, culture, sex appeal and style, all factors that are major pulls for affluent millennials when choosing the right hotel.

Should your millennial clients crave the more traditional all-inclusive experience, AMResorts has been expanding its Breathless brand in Mexico. A property exists in Los Cabos, and in May the company opened its second location in Riviera Cancun. The brand is the newest under the AMResorts umbrella, an adults-only concept designed for travelers looking for a more social, activity-filled vacation than a completely private and romantic getaway. It is geared towards millennials — be it couples, singles or friends traveling together — who have favored the beaches of Miami and the pool scenes of Las Vegas.

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