As Mexico reels from a year of drug violence and turmoil, Mexico City-based Grupo Questro is rolling out Puerto Los Cabos, an ambitious 2,000-acre marina and resort project on the southern tip of Baja California.
In addition to the 439-slip marina, the largest private facility in Mexico, the project includes an array of lots and residential units priced between $195,000 and $15 million, and signature Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus golf courses--all targeting the type of international buyers wary of Mexico.
In an e-mail interview Grupo Questro general director Eduardo Sanchez Navarro discusses the state of the market, a new wave of buyers and Puerto Los Cabo's latest marketing strategy for turbulent times.
What can you tell me about recent sales?
Things are certainly picking up. We have had a lot more tours and sales leads than last year and we have put seven properties under contract since April 1.
Where are your buyers coming from?
Mainly U.S. and Canada, but we are seeing an uptick of buyers coming from mainland Mexico. Even though Cabo is still a high-end destination, domestic airline flights have gone down. Mexicans are beginning to discover the excellent golf, the wonderful fishing and the amazing natural resources that Los Cabos has to offer.
How have you changed your marketing in recent years?
With the market changes and recession we have changed our strategies from mass advertising to more personalized target group marketing using different methods that reach our potential clients. We use clear messages that ensure quality, safety of investment along with incomparable standards of quality of life. We are a committed, strong, healthy and reliable developer that won't leave our homeowners stranded.
Also buyers investigate more these days, they compare all of the different options and we have to be ready to resolve any question that they might have.
What's working? What isn't?
Working: Internet, Public Relations, objective media reports, fly and buy programs, referral programs, social events and media.
Any special or unusual sales programs?
We are offering a very attractive cash and developer financing packages.
How do you counter the reports of the drug violence?
Mexico has been unfortunate about the press coverage regarding the drug violence. We are aware that in certain parts of Mexico there is a serious problem But Mexico is a very large country with a majority decent hard working population.
What's the reality for travelers? Is the unrest a legitimate reason not to fly to a major international resort destination? The State Department says, essentially, to exercise normal good judgment on your Mexican vacation--and remain in the resort areas.
Los Cabos is the second safest state in all of Mexico. It's singular location along with the distance from borders and mainland Mexico has made Los Cabos a difficult and expensive destiny for many to travel to. This has also maintained a very low density population in Los Cabos, which mostly consists of young bilingual professionals servicing the tourism and development industries. The local authorities are aware of the importance of the safety of tourists in Los Cabos and have made extraordinary efforts in reinforcing the police, federal and military troops to maintain Los Cabos crime free.
What are you doing to make buyers feel more secure?
Taking all of this in consideration, Puerto Los Cabos reassures every ones safety and puts minds at ease on this subject by investing in contracting and training a highly specialized security team that manages the safety of our development, homeowners and visitors on a day to day basis, 24 hours. Puerto Los Cabos has also installed new security restrictions and measures that will further ensure the residents tranquility and family's well-being.
What amenities are resonating with buyers these days?
Golf is still a big draw. Beach Clubs are still in great demand. Marina has also had a very large draw to it. Right now we are also in the process of doing some trails focused to enjoy nature either walking, running or mountain biking.
How are sales going in the marina?
Sales are excellent. Due to the high demand in the area, our location, amenities, service and facilities we have been privileged to have a waiting list for our slips.
The scenic new Marina in Puerto Los Cabos will berth over 400 ships and set the highest standard for yachting facilities on the Pacific Coast. Only the second marina in Los Cabos, it is becoming the favored port to enjoy the regionÂ´s exceptional sports fishing, whale watching and sailing adventures.
What have you learned about marketing a marina project in Mexico?
Our project has been quite easy to market due to its unique facilities, location and the attention to detail in the Marinas design.
The Marina at Puerto Los Cabos will set the standard for yachting centers on the West Coast of North America, not only for the infrastructure itself, which will include over 22,000 linear feet of dock space, but also for what the environs has to offer boating enthusiasts.
Capped by stones of up to 60 tons to ensure adequate protection in case of a hurricane, and featuring the largest privately constructed breakwater in Mexico, with almost half a million tons of granitic rock blasted from the nearby quarry, the Marina at Puerto Los Cabos provides a secure environment for more than 500 vessels ranging from the pangas of the local fishermen to the world's most luxurious mega- yachts up to 250 feet. Although the shape of boats and boat slips usually mandates a rectangular basin, we opted for some curved areas in their design, as well as an island that could support a water feature or park. The result is a perimeter with some open curvature, fanning out the slips in a more aesthetically pleasing design than the typical rectangular marina layout.
The marina is designed to meet an international boating community's every need, and incorporates amenities including a boatyard and dry stack storage, docking for large yachts and charters, a supermarket, a fuel dock, customs and immigration, 24-hour area security, a tackle shop, wireless Internet and a business center. It's also designed with natural forces like tides and currents in mind, and can be naturally self-cleansed in 48 hours.