The Mexican Caribbean has long been a draw for meetings, thanks to its convenient location, spectacular beaches, rich history, and variety of accommodations. In February 2009, the region's Aqua Cancun played host to an executive seminar arranged by Valerie Moore, president of Executive Meeting Consultants in Cedarhurst, N.Y.

“One of the deciding factors in choosing Aqua over a competing property was its fabulous outdoor space,” recalls the New York-based meetings executive. “At the competing property, if we wanted to host a dinner on the beach, we would have had to bring in lighting, décor, seating — virtually everything. At Aqua, we took over the open-air, thatched-roof, beachfront restaurant Azur. The only thing we added was entertainment. This resulted in tremendous savings — well over $10,000.”

During the event at the 371-room resort, “We also did something different that the hotel referred to as a ‘happening.' While the group enjoyed cocktails poolside, a mermaid was placed in the pool and she swam over to greet the attendees. It made for a great photo op,” Moore says.

Created in 2004, Aqua is Grupo Posadas' first lifestyle brand. For Moore's group, Mexico made sense in terms of finances, time, and the fun factor. “Although Mexico is our neighbor, it's still a foreign country, and that — along with its easy access from both East and West coasts — makes it an attractive destination. Mexico is a country that boasts ancient cultures and civilizations, pristine natural beauty, cosmopolitan cities, and world-class resorts. It has something for everyone,” she says.

Savvy meeting planners are looking to Mexico to provide unparalleled deals.

According to Mark A. Benson, CMP, vice president of sales, North America, Posadas USA Inc., “Those who can see through to 2010 and 2011 and purchase now are doing the best job for their company and their customers,”

See Mexico