Last updated: 01:00 PM ET, Mon September 26 2016

Marriott Wants to Help Convince You Take Your First Trip to Latin America

Destination & Tourism | Michael Schottey | September 26, 2016

Marriott Wants to Help Convince You Take Your First Trip to Latin America

PHOTO: Machu Picchu in Peru — one of the many Latin American destinations near a Marriott hotel (Photo courtesy of Marriott) 

You have to see this place!

Oftentimes, there are no words or rhetoric to adequately convince someone of what you’ve experienced. So, you can either talk up that something until you’re blue in the face, or you can simply exhort people that they have to see it for themselves.

Marriott is taking the latter tact when it comes to their properties in Latin America, and I spoke with Diana Plazas (vice president of brands, marketing and digital at Marriott International, Caribbean & Latin America) to discuss just how and why they believe we should all be headed to the region.

 “The Caribbean and Latin America definitely offer something for everyone,” Plazas began. “…ranging from historic UNESCO World Heritage sites, to incredible cuisine, immaculate beaches, and festivals and attractions filled with local culture. You have the Carnival festivities in Rio de Janeiro, Machu Picchu in Peru, Santo Domingo and its Spanish history, and the beautiful historic center of Mexico City marked by the Zocalo.

Travel is more fractured these days than ever before, as younger generations are putting aside many of the traveling conventions and motives of their parents. My peers are taking less vacation and traveling less because we have less disposable income and far more distractions at home. Yet, for those of us of a certain age that are relearning how to travel, we’re doing so in a more meaningful way, trending toward experiential travel and checking things off of our bucket lists decades before our predecessors would’ve thought of it.

 Photo: Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo courtesy of Marriott)

Marriott is positioning themselves in Latin America to take care of just that mindset. Plazas continued:

“Our Marriott properties throughout the region put travelers of any budget in close proximity to all the action. One example is our brand new AC Hotel in Guadalajara, Mexico — an unexpected destination brimming with Mexican culture. The property was built steps from the historic downtown area, which is a breathtaking sight and experience in itself, surrounded by local eateries and close to ‘Tequila Road’.”

“Then you have Lima, Peru, which is home to some of the world’s best culinary talent, and two Marriott properties, including a Courtyard in the Miraflores area, where renowned chefs like Gaston Acurio have restaurants that range from fine dining to casual ceviche bars — perfect for the explorer on a budget. For fitness enthusiasts, Santiago de Chile has been called one of the best cities in Latin America for cyclists. Here, Marriott’s presence spans across four brands; we have the Renaissance Santiago Hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott Santiago Las Condes, the Santiago Marriott Hotel and The Ritz-Carlton, Santiago, ensuring a perfect fit for every traveler.”

That wide range of experiences and calibers of travel types is exactly what makes Latin America such an intriguing emerging travel market, and Marriott’s consistency of brand is a nice pairing. If nothing else, Plazas believes the comfort of staying in a familiar hotel should help worried travelers get over any undue concerns about heading to an unfamiliar place.

“Latin America as a region has come a long way. More and more, the world is curious to discover this amazing destination and everything it has to offer.”

“If you’re looking for a reason not to travel, you’ll find one for anywhere in the world, even your own backyard. Safety challenges can happen anywhere. So, it is more about being aware and alert. With more than 115 properties in the region, Marriott offers a familiar and recognizable brand in Latin America. Travelers have that added sense of comfort and stability when exploring a region they might be less familiar with. We also put a lot of effort into ensuring our guests’ safety, as well as their awareness of the local environment.”

 PHOTO: The Andes Mountains in Santiago, Chile (Photo courtesy of Marriott) 

Think of it this way: Latin America is about as varied a region as one can imagine—from high-class, five-star amenities to third-world trimmings both surrounding ridiculous amounts of physical beauty and culture that is not to be missed. Marriott has the ability as the world’s largest hotel chain to provide comfort, safety and stability across the board in any of those environments.

Want a luxury stay to kick back in the evenings after a day spent at the beach? Marriott can do that in Latin America.

Or, would you rather have a nice place to lay your head but not break the bank between days of exploring with the family or finding your inner adventurer with a group of friends? Marriott can do that those too, and in Latin America, those vastly different experiences can be had only a stone’s throw away from one another.

Meanwhile, with Marriott, this all includes being connected with their Marriott Rewards program which provides opportunities for free nights or for turning some of those cheaper stays into a special stay at a more luxurious brand otherwise inaccessible. The company has partnered with regional Latin American airlines like Copa and Avianca to increase the number of points brand loyalists can earn with the Latin American stays as well as continually curating once-in-a-lifetime experiences with other partners like the NBA House during the Rio Olympics.

These are, of course, perks to traveling with Marriott anywhere in the world, but Latin America provides opportunity that not every location can match. Moreover, as Plazas makes it clear, the reasons not to go are looking more and more foolish every day.

She called awareness the biggest challenge for the Latin American tourism market, adding, “The more travelers venture into Latin America and fall in love with its destinations, cuisine and all there is to do, and share that with their friends and family, the more we will see this become one of the top tourism destinations globally.”

“The current economic conditions in some of the Latin American markets have provided for a very strong U.S. dollar, so your money will definitely go a very long way when traveling throughout the region.” Plazas said. “A handful of major airlines within the United States offer direct routes into key cities, as well as domestic connections to explore hidden gems.”

So, it’s a question not only of the possibilities once travelers get to Latin America, but also the accessibility to get there in the first place—coupled with the increase of accessibility when having a familiar brand upon arrival.

Because, once you’re there, it’s more-and-more apparent that you’ll be glad you are.

“Between the great cuisine and incredible restaurants in cities such as Lima, Sao Paulo and Mexico City, the UNESCO cities, and some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, there is a guarantee to find a destination that is perfect for you.” Plazas said. “Or, even better, you can experience the best of two worlds during a single trip; start in Mexico City and climb the historic pyramids, head to Puebla to try the most delicious, authentic mole you’ve ever had in your life, then jet off to Cancun to relax on the powder-white sand beaches. And most of our countries have this similar type of combination to offer!”

Now, that sounds like something we all should definitely look forward to checking out for ourselves. 


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