Starwood Hotels and Resorts are forecasting an eight to ten percent increase in business at their Los Cabos resorts in 2013, crediting new development, infrastructure improvements and positive news for the forecasted upswing. And I know that I would be on my there if I could! The Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort and The Westin Resort & Spa share their “top 10” travel trend predictions for what will drive the increased business:
· Access Draws More to Relax & Explore – It is getting easier all the time to get into and around Los Cabos. New nonstop flights added in mid-2012 from strong Los Cabos’ tourist-drawing metropolitan areas such as Orange County Calif. (Airtran) and Chicago (Frontier) to Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) and additional nonstop service coming in 2013 from Denver (Airtran), San Diego and Dallas-Fort Worth (Spirit) are expected to entice even more new and repeat travelers. Additionally, a new $250 million four-lane highway that halves travel time between Los Cabos and the state capital, La Paz, and other infrastructure improvements have made driving the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula a breeze, increasing access and tourist interest in regional exploration.
· Service Goes Super Nova – With a steadily growing number of luxury resort properties on the scene, resorts are finding new ways to deliver superior guest experiences. Starwood Resorts Los Cabos, already lauded for their stellar service, have fully embraced the challenge of finding new ways to provide superior guest experiences that surprise and delight, such as from lauded Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Executive Chef Manuel de Luca and The Westin Resort & Spa Los Cabos Executive Chef Manuel Peruyero, who stroll the dining rooms daily to deliver personalized “star treatment” and specially-prepared dishes to guests.
· Sporting Appeal Builds – From golf tournaments and sports fishing to water sports, off road races and personal physical challenges, Los Cabos will play host to a plethora of sporting events in 2013. New this year, both Starwood Resorts will host guests visiting for The Ironman Los Cabos triathlon (March 17). Leading off the year and golf tournaments’ schedule was the recent Puerto Los Cabos World Pro-Am. Off-road races include the Cabo 500 and Tecate Score Baja 1000. Water sports draws range from internationally renowned sport fishing challenges, such as Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament, Tuna Jackpot, Los Cabos Billfish Tournament, Stars and Stripes Fishing and Golf Tournament, and SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) Championships.
· Meetings Mania – The new, $100 million, state-of-the-art Los Cabos Convention Center, which hosted world leaders at the international G20 Summit in June 2012 as its inaugural event, has introduced 72,000 square feet of eco-friendly functional meeting and exhibition space to the region. The facility, which also hosted the first-ever Los Cabos International Film Festival in November 2012, is expected to encourage more regional event development and expand Los Cabos’ abilities to effectively compete in the destination meetings and conventions business. In tandem with industry trends towards hybrid meetings and events, Starwood Resorts Los Cabos, with some of the largest and most varied meeting and event facilities, offer state-of-the-art IT, with HD video conferencing that enables in-house AV PSAV teams to provide coordinated interface with nearly a thousand PSAV-served hotels throughout the world.
· Rejuven-cations Reign – Along with private white sand beaches, dazzling poolside fun in the sun and world-class dining, more travelers to Los Cabos will seek their own havens for personal rejuvenation. Starwood’s Sheraton Hacienda del Mar and The Westin Resort & Spa both offer, in addition to world-class spas and treatment packages, newly renovated and expanded gyms with workout programs and educational resources, as well as healthy dining alternatives, such as The Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos’ SuperFoodsRx™ menus with nutrient-rich dishes and Sheraton Hacienda del Mar’s under 500-calorie “Color Your Plate” selections.
· Trendy Weddings – Los Cabos will continue to attract destination weddings as more couples will flock the area for its uniquely beautiful setting, well-priced luxury dream wedding options with generous gifts of complimentary “extras” and discounts. Events staff at both the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar and The Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos note that more couples are looking for highly unique twists for their weddings, including a “trash the dress” trend that is rapidly growing in popularity as many brides are choosing to follow their wedding ceremony with a jump into the surf at the resorts or at Lover’s Beach by the El Arco scenic rock-arch.
· More Family Gatherings – With the U.S. State Department lifting travel warnings to Los Cabos and other popular destinations in Mexico last November* and the ever-increasing wealth of cultural, arts, environmental and sports activities for all ages, more multi-generational families will find their way to Los Cabos to celebrate holidays, family occasions and in-tandem getaways. Both Sheraton Hacienda del Mar and The Westin Resort & Spa in Los Cabos offer amenities that cater to every family member and feature newly renovated Kids Club facilities.
· Culinary & Cultural Exchange – Noting increasing guest interest in cultural experiences and world cuisines, both Starwood Los Cabos resorts regularly host cultural festivals and events such as The Westin Resort & Spa’s Oktoberfest, with traditional Swiss-German foods and alphorn music, and Sheraton Hacienda del Mar’s Peruvian Food Festival, featuring internationally renowned Peruvian cuisine pioneer Jose Montes, executive chef at the Sheraton Lima Hotel & Convention Center. Returning March 9, the Sheraton will again host its Pan, Queso y Vino (Bread, Cheese and Wine Festival) to benefit local boys’ home Casa Hogar.
· Wired for Work & Play – With rapidly expanding online access, social media sharing, mobile phone and apps use, more “working” vacationers will access wi-fi and, literally, set up office by the Sea of Cortez. At both Starwood Los Cabos’ resorts, more social media fans will receive hotel and local news via Facebook and Twitter, and smart-phone users, in addition to handling bookings via mobile, will discover new regional resource apps such as the Los Cabos Mobile Guide, available at www.visitloscabos.com .
· Los Cabos for Canines – More travelers will arrive with animal companions in tow, now that the Mexican government is permitting airlines to once again allow them in the cabin during flights to and from Mexico. (Check with your airline before booking for rules and restrictions, which vary and can change, particularly during hotter weather.) The Westin Resort & Spa is among the dog-friendliest luxury resorts in Los Cabos, where dogs may stay in-room and dine, al fresco with their families.
For more information on the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort, please call 52-624-145-8000 or visit www.sheratonloscabos.com. For more information on The Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos, please call 1-800-012-9229 or visit www.westinloscabos.com.
*According to U.S. State Dept. Mexico Travel Update, reported in San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate.com (Dec. 4, 2012).