Los Cabos Virtual Roadshow
With Los Cabos Tourism’s planned bi-annual sales roadshow forced to suspend just weeks before launch, the destination was gutted. But disappointment gave way to inspiration as Gate 7 identified an opportunity to create a virtual roadshow program, bringing a fresh format direct to agents’ homes. Capitalising on current and emerging travel trends, our strong relationships with the travel trade, and an evergreen and engaging content program complete with guided home cooking and mixology sessions featuring Mexican classics, we served up a cost-effective three-day program reaching both broad and hyper-targeted luxury and Virtuoso segments of our travel agent database.
Many destination marketers rely on in-person roadshows to provide updates to travel trade and media about their destinations and products, both to build and maintain in-market relationships and create memorable experiences that position their destinations front-of-mind for agents.
Los Cabos (often called “Cabo”), the iconic Mexican destination at the tip of the Baja California peninsula, has a wide range of properties, from Virtuoso-certified resorts to all-inclusive budget options, suited to all types of traveller. Los Cabos Tourism Board wanted the region’s diversity of accommodation and dining options to be the centre of the roadshow experience, asking Gate 7 to incorporate as many hotel partners as possible. Roadshow sessions would give Los Cabos Tourism Board and its hotel partners much wanted face-to-face contact with agents, generate new leads, and expand their database of travel trade contacts, all with Mexican-themed fun and interactivity. As the COVID-19 outbreak shuttered borders, in-person events were suspended, but Los Cabos was still looking to entertain and educate agents as best they could, forcing the Gate 7 team to rethink their “roadshow recipe” from the ground up.
Australia represents Los Cabos’ third-largest visitor segment, and through Gate 7, the tourism board has built strong relationships with many of the country’s key trade contacts. Given Australia’s strong recovery, it remains a critical, high-value market for Los Cabos’ own long-term economic recovery, and moving forward with a sales mission was imperative.
Strategy & Solution
The Gate 7 team always creates presentations in which participants feel empowered to ask questions, engage with the host, and take away key learnings. For the Los Cabos roadshow, the result was a collection of four targeted, one-hour, semi-live presentations featuring guided cooking classes of local dishes, easy-to-follow margarita mixology lessons, and engaging Q&A sessions with hotel representatives to provide a “live event” feeling despite time zone differences.
To reach the right target audiences with the correct content, and to allow access for our client’s hotel partners to a suitable set of agents, four different sessions across three days were planned. One would be an overview of Los Cabos’ general accommodation, another would showcase luxury options, and the final two would be aimed at high-end Virtuoso properties and agents.
Gate 7 utilised its highly segmented travel trade database and partnered with trade publication KARRYON to attract and engage with a variety of possible roadshow attendees and niche retailers (such as wedding and diving trip specialists). To encourage sign-ups and attendance for the mission, and to collect valuable insights about agent specialisations for further segmentation down the road, two properties and two non-accommodation partners produced videos highlighting Los Cabos’ diversity that were included in KARRYON pre-event editorial, highlighting the virtual roadshow and an associated competition to encourage agent attendance.
Leveraging the growing trend of culinary experiences as a travel motivation, and the reality of more at-home cooking, the Gate 7 team settled on building the presentations around cooking and cocktail classes featuring chefs and mixologists from restaurants and bars in Los Cabos hotels and resorts. These recipes ranged from a simple Aguachile and classic cocktails to more involved dishes like charred adobo fish with risotto and an avocado-infused margarita (which is significantly more delicious than you might first imagine).
Due to the time difference, having hosts present live from the destination was going to be difficult, so each hotel partner was encouraged to record their own video content, which was then edited into hour-long presentations for agents alongside an overall destination update from the Los Cabos Tourism Board’s Managing Director, Rodrigo Esponda. These presentations were broadcast with live questions answered by the Gate 7 destination representative and were additionally filmed and packaged to be distributed to attendees and registered users who could not make the sessions. In total, 21 different hotel partners were showcased throughout the sessions, each offering a look at their property’s unique selling points, with many offering a tour of the amenities through their Q&A answers. (See an example of content submitted by Hotel Montage Los Cabos below.)
To keep costs down for the client, all the video editing, communication with the attendees, and hosting of the presentations were handled in-house. From the drawing board to execution, the week-long roadshow took only took a month, thanks to our agile team working in close collaboration with the client.
Learnings & Results
Our personalised and targeted approach generated a number of relevant, high-quality leads for Los Cabos and its hotel partners; matching properties with appropriate sellers more efficiently than any traditional in-person event could. Capitalising on the reduction of industry events also meant that more high-profile contacts from target travel trade organisations were in attendance for the sessions.
The desire to reach niche retailers also paid dividends for both Los Cabos and the Australian travel trade, as an increased desire for travel to Mexico intersects with more passion-based trip motivators. Dive travel retailers, for instance, are noting increased interest in Los Cabos’ reserved marine sanctuaries from their clients.
Perhaps the greatest opportunity stemming from the event was how Los Cabos can continue to keep agents engaging with their destination. The vast majority of content produced for the roadshow will be used in on-going destination representation training and has been recorded and housed on YouTube for further distribution. (We’ve embedded one of the presentations below.)
Additionally, we have packaged key hotel partner information into one-sheeters to send to agents for their customers, and all of the content created will continue inspiring travel for agents through the Gate 7 Resource Centre.