Reduced Financial Margins May Prompt Increase For Tourists
Cancun and Quintana Roo hotel rates may be set to rise as sargassum and Covid safet protocols reduce local establishments’ profit margins. This may be compounded by general surges in demand.
Cancun and the rest of the state have had an outstanding period in the face of so many obstacles, but the complicated circumstances faced by the region have left business’s profit margins much smaller than would be anticipated in a more typical time.
The bulk of the profit loss has come in the form of COVID protocols and sargassum prevention- all factors that tourists are not paying for directly but have been extremely important to ensure the success of the area.
The COVID protocols enforced by the government and local businesses have been costly and have involved the purchase of masks, sanitizing fluid, protective equipment for staff, added cleaning, and different forms of new informative materials. Add some slightly reduced capacity for periods of time, and the cost per guest has been significantly increased.
On the sargassum front, an immediate problem was raised in the form of staff shortages. With as much as a meter being deposited on the beaches at any one time, beach hotels and restaurants have taken on extra workers to manually clear the sand in front of the establishments. These jobs are often starting as early as 4 or 5 AM and were added staff as opposed to already employed workers.
These problems were unavoidable for the hotels and having such a successful period with such low profits will be something they want to rectify. Although no announcement has been officially made, it is thought that many businesses will raise their rates. When the high demand is factored in with the current issues, tourists could bear the brunt of the attempts to regain the profits.
Although the pandemic appears to be in its last throws, many hotels will continue to keep the hygiene policies that were initiated to help ensure another outbreak doesn’t happen. The Governor of Quintana Roo has suggested that the indoor mask mandate will be lifted in the near future which will be another expense that could drop for the hotels. Unfortunately, the United States still requires a COVID test before its citizens can return, and many of the hotels help foot the bill in their hotel rates with that, although it usually does cost more.
The sargassum issue is one that is going nowhere anytime soon. Over forty thousand tons are expected to wash up on the shores of the Mexican Caribbean in the next week, with a further ten thousand in the days after. The problem has grown year on year in conjunction with the world’s rising sea temperatures. The macroalgae thrive in warmer water and are only expected to grow in severity in the coming years. The government has invested hundreds of thousands into sargassum prevention, enlisting the Navy to send twenty-six ships out along the Caribbean coast.
Unfortunately, poor weather this year has delayed the efforts and some of the most popular beaches in the region have found massive deposits washing up on a regular basis. Sargassum barriers will be completed soon, and it’s hoped they will lessen the burden placed upon hotels and restaurants, but for now, much of the work remains manual and at the expense of the establishments.
Demand is high for the summer with many of the hotels already reporting 90% occupancy. The limited availability will also play a factor in the cost of rooms, so those who are hoping to visit the state in the near future should look at booking sooner rather than later.
Most hotels are also offering daily updates on the sargassum levels, allowing tourists to plan their vacations accordingly. Checking in with hotels and other service providers before arrival is a good tactic for tourists to avoid disappointment.
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