Modern luxury travelers are in the midst of a fundamental re-alignment in their attitudes and desires. On one hand, travelers still long for the traditional features once associated with high-end travel. As Skift explained in a 2017 report on traveler’s changing luxury travel habits, some aspects of luxury experience remain timeless: “luxury always has been, and will continue to be, defined by timeless values such as quality, comfort, and elegance.”
On the other hand, this new breed of affluent traveler is also demanding a new set of qualities in from their companies and destinations they pick for their trips. Consider the following statement from the 2018 Skift research study on affluent travelers, which found that “…luxury travel has moved away from its traditional association with the fanciest hotels and first class flights, and toward meaningful, yet still exclusive, experiences in-destination. This evolution continues, and is becoming even more personal and subjective.”
Skift is not alone in its assessment. According to luxury travel experts, traveler attitudes are becoming more subjective and personalized. “There’s a little bit of this cognitive dissidence between [luxury travelers] who want to do something new, but also want to do something that’s comfortable,” said Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso.
But even as these seemingly contradictory desires have left some tourism businesses scrambling to adapt their offerings, others, like Mexico’s Los Cabos state, are thriving in this new environment. Thanks to new tourism campaign, “The Baja Way,” along with a wealth of authentic cultural experiences, design-centric hotels, world-class food, stunning outdoor scenery, and a focus on environmental sustainability, Los Cabos is emerging as a key innovator in Mexico’s rapidly evolving luxury tourism sector.
“You have exactly that in Los Cabos,” said Virtuoso’s Upchurch. “They are developing new areas and the quality keeps growing.”
What exactly is “The Baja Way?” And why does it fit so well with the changing attitudes of today’s luxury traveler? To find out, it’s worth a closer look at the values driving this redefined mindset in the Mexican tourism market.
Why the “Baja Way” Is Perfect Fit for Today’s Evolving Luxury Traveler
It’s true that Mexico has long held an important position on the luxury traveler bucket list. But unlike previous luxury experiences, today’s affluent Mexico vacationer is in search of something altogether different from their experience. In the past, a gated resort with a beach, a pool, and a margarita may have been enough to satisfy luxury consumers. But today’s affluent vacationer wants all that and much more from their trip to Mexico.
This new urge is perfectly aligned with “The Baja Way,” a destination positioning that seeks to showcase the wealth of luxury-ready amenities available to Los Cabos luxury travelers. The Baja Way is the encapsulation of this new set of luxury tourism values and amenities, managing to showcase both the sophistication of the Los Cabos luxury travel experience along with the destination’s laid-back, natural, local-centric vibe.
The Baja Way is also a particularly good fit because concept is designed to resonate with the values held by today’s multi-faceted luxury traveler. One example is a growing interest in more local cultural experiences. Rather than sequestering themselves inside a high end resort, today’s Mexico traveler wants to immerse themselves in the cultures of the destinations they visit. According to Skift research, 56 percent of affluent travelers said it was important to “meet and connect with the locals while on vacation.”
One way Los Cabos is bringing this to life is by means of a new excursion to Todos Santos, a colonial village that’s become an emerging arts hub in the region, where guests can interact with local gallery owners and artisans.
Another luxury traveler demand is patronizing travel businesses and destinations that take environmental sustainability seriously. “Sustainability is a perfect example…of a lot of the things that we might not have looked at from a luxury perspective before, and now we’re having to really evaluate what those choices are and how we’re giving our experiences and our amenities to our guests,” said Mitzi Gaskins, global brand leader for Marriott’s JW Marriott and The Luxury Collection brands, in a 2019 interview with Skift.
Here, once again, Los Cabos is leading the way in terms of sustainability tourism initiatives. Consider that 42 percent of Los Cabos is designated as a protected area, or that it boasts 19 “Blue Flag” beaches, shorefront areas that have been evaluated based on a strict eco-certification process to rank the local water quality, safety, and efforts to preserve the local ecosystem.
Yet another emerging luxury traveler demand is a growing interest in more creative culinary experiences. Fine dining has always been part of luxury. But today’s luxury travelers are in search of more immersive food tourism activities, offering them opportunities to learn about gastronomic traditions and enjoy one-of-a-kind food experiences. As Skift noted in October 2018, one way luxury tourism brands are doing this is by offering more unexpected food activities to luxury guests, such as a guest celebrity chef residency at upscale hotels.
Mexico, and Los Cabos in particular, are well-positioned to satisfy the food-focused demands of today’s luxury travelers. Consider one new tour now offered by the destination, featuring an excursion offered by local chef Enrique Silva. Silva accompanies travelers to Huerta de Los Tamarindos, a Los Cabos organic farm, to pick ingredients for a farm-to-table dinner featuring a Mezcal tasting and wines from the nearby Valle de Guadalupe area.
“Mexico has really found that its cuisine is a secret weapon,” agreed Virtuoso’s Upchurch. “You mix the natural authentic hospitality of the Mexican culture and then the incredible sophistication and diversity of food…it’s pretty impressive.”
There’s no question that the mindset of the modern luxury traveler is evolving. Even as the shift has left some tourism destinations rushing to adapt, other destinations, like Mexico’s Los Cabos region, are thriving in this new era of Mexican travel.
As symbolized by “The Baja Way” campaign, Los Cabos offers a new generation of luxury travelers the perfect combination of authentic destination amenities, including a welcoming local culture, beautiful natural scenery, one-of-a-kind culinary experiences, and a commitment to causes like environmental sustainability. With so much to offer luxury travelers, all signs suggest Los Cabos is well-positioned to further expand its role as a high-end tourism hub, both in Mexico and across the globe.