New social media campaign woos travelers back to Los Cabos after Hurricane Odile.
Los Cabos, Mexico, the municipality on the southern tip of Baja California, has long been a favorite celebrity getaway. In the 1950s, stars like John Wayne, Bing Crosby and Lucille Ball visited the area when it was only reachable by private yacht. In recent years, the destination has attracted well over a million visitors annually.
Tourism came to a halt, however, when Hurricane Odile, one of the most destructive hurricanes ever to hit the region, barreled over the Baja Peninsula on September 14, 2014. The Category 3 storm wreaked havoc on the international airport, bridges, and roads, and pummeled hotels and resorts. More than 30,000 tourists were left stranded and many residents lost homes.
With grit and determination, the popular destination has made an impressive comeback.
“The good news is that the Los Cabos coffers are flush (both government and private sector), and recovery and rebuilding have surpassed even the most optimistic expectations,” says Zachary Rabinor, CEO of Journey Mexico, a luxury travel company.
Rabinor notes that while some top hotels such as One & Only Palmilla, Rosewood Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Esperanza and The Resort at Pedregal, are still closed, he is still selling other hotel rooms and luxury villa rentals.
Hotels along the tourist Corridor between Cabos San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo took the biggest hit, says Julie Byrd, a vice-president at CaboVillas.com. “But well over 60 percent of the hotel inventory is back to normal,” she says. “The destination looks great and upgrades made at many properties are an added bonus.”
To repair the destination’s digital image, the Mexican Tourism Board asked the Lapiz/Leo Burnett ad agency to enlist the help of the newest generation of celebrity Cabo-lovers, including Reese Witherspoon, Rosario Dawson, Mario Lopez and Nick Jonas. Using the hashtag #unstoppable, the celebs took “selfies” and posted them on social media; the selfies were taken in the same locations as those posted by fans before Odile.
The Mexican Tourism Board also created a special website offering updates on accommodations, restaurants and flights. Live webcams on the site offer visitors a peek at various area locations for themselves.