We like what we see—and so should you, because these numbers add up to a tidy piece of business headed your way.
“This is certainly a very profitable niche,” says Lisa Sheldon, founding executive director of the new Association for Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Specialists (more on that later). “The average couple usually has plenty of guests—anywhere from 10 to 60—and honeymooners also tend to have a bigger budget than regular vacationers. If you can work with the bride so you’re in charge of the guest list’s travel plans, it’s a perfect fit in both directions: It’s lucrative for you as an agent, and it makes life easier for the bride to have a handle on everyone’s travel details so she knows who will and won’t be there on time.”
Why Mexico? Beyond the ease of travel and the startling variety of venues and destinations you’ll read about in the following pages, you should also know that its popularity as a wedding destination has upped the ante in the wedding industry in Mexico on every level, making it an ideal choice for brides looking for a custom touch that still fits their budget—whatever the size.
“Mexico offers great quality and price value for custom-tailored weddings,” says Kitzia Morales, CEO and co-founder of Love Mexico, which offers destination wedding specialist trainings for travel professionals with the support of the Mexico Tourism Board. “Mexican weddings are always a big affair, so American couples will find the trendiest linens, equipment, flowers, etc. at a fraction of what it would cost in the U.S./Canada.” And while you do find packages on practically every hotel service menu, consider them a starting point, as more and more properties offer a la carte options to personalize your client’s big day.
“Personalized weddings are a huge trend,” says Morales. “More and more couples choosing a destination wedding prefer to stay away from the cookie-cutter package and imprint their personalities and taste in every detail. For example, they can incorporate Mexican elements in a new, more sophisticated way: A cake could have a talavera pattern decoration, tablecloths might have huichol embroidery or invitations can be made on hand-painted amate paper. It’s miles away from the sombrero and sarape.”
In case you think all this means you have to become a wedding planner to book a destination wedding, the answer is, only if you want to, as most hotels have onsite wedding coordinators. “We recently launched a new wedding program to assist travel agents in the planning process,” says John Long, v.p. of sales and marketing for Iberostar Hotels & Resorts. “One very unique feature, which is a key selling point for travel agents, is that Iberostar understands how special a wedding is to the couple and has a policy to only book one wedding per day at each hotel.”
And this is where that aforementioned new Association for Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Specialists will also come in handy. “We’re creating a community that offers both training for agents who want to learn more about this niche and networking opportunities for those who’ve been selling destination weddings and honeymoons for years,” says Sheldon.
“I definitely see Mexico growing its destination wedding business in 2013,” says Richard Markel, president of the Association for Wedding Professionals International. So do we—with your own business growing right along with it.
“Mexico is a popular location because it has wonderful cuisine, beautiful beaches and ambiance, a romantic feel and is quite affordable to many,” says Melissa Pride-Fahs, director of marketing & customer engagement for DestinationWeddings.com. “We are experiencing growth in the number of Mexico weddings each year. Beach area weddings are most popular because of the relaxed, tropical, vacation feel it offers couples and their guests and families.”
So are you ready to say “sí, acepto” to a Mexico destination wedding? Turn the page and let’s get started!