4 Ways to Align Your Safety Guidelines with Your Brand
In late May, Grupo Xcaret, the attractions group in the Mexican Caribbean, announced it would gradually resume operations starting June 15 with the reopening of one of its six parks, Xcaret Park and Hotel Xcaret Mexico. The company also disclosed its new robust safety and hygiene protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the well-being of visitors, guests, and their staff. A unique integration with the company's existing brand story ensured that even with the new procedures, guests experienced a truly Grupo Xcaret visit.
“We had a lot of time to work on this,” explains Iliana Rodriguez, chief sustainability officer of Grupo Xcaret. Before the company even thought about closing their parks and hotels, Grupo Xcaret and others in the industry met with the state’s government in Cancun to discuss a plan. “The minute we heard what was happening on the other side of the world with COVID-19, we first started looking at what others were doing and secondly, what would be the best practices moving forward.”
Rodriguez says collaborating with other teams from all over the world in the industry has been instrumental in this whole process. “No one ever really prepared for what happened. We only have one chance as an industry for our guests to trust us and get this right as we start reopening. It’s our responsibility as an industry to share what we’re learning with each other.”
If developing a brand-new set of health protocols during a global pandemic wasn’t complex enough, Grupo Xcaret wanted to make sure their story as one of Mexico’s top sustainable recreation spaces wasn’t lost in the process and neither was their guests’ experience within their properties. “We had long meetings with the team to find the best way to show our commitment to our staff and guests’ safety but also represent our brand and rich Mexican history,” says Rodriguez. Here are some of the ways Grupo Xcaret leveraged their brand to communicate their new safety procedures:
Build on Existing Brand Markers
Beginning with Xcaret, which means “small inlet” in Mayan, all of the company’s parks start with the letter “X”. Guests are also used to seeing many words around the properties starting with that letter. “We spent hours playing around with a lot of words to name our new set of protocols,” Rodriguez laughs. “We wanted a bilingual word that would resonate with our brand and we finally landed on the name ‘Xeguridad 360 Xafety,’ which is perfect.”
Make It Public
Some of the measures in the new guidelines include limiting park capacity, temperature checks, and use of facial masks. It’s all been made public. “To this end, our open access protocols will be available on our website, not only for potential visitors but for other tourism providers that can use them as guidelines in creating or adapting their own,” said Miguel Quintana, CEO of Grupo Xcaret on their reopening announcement.
Connect to Your Brand Commitment
Grupo Xcaret says their COVID-19 measures reinforce the brand’s commitment to excellence for over 30 years. That includes an excellent experience for their guests as they learn and practice the new health measures. “When we developed these important guidelines, we developed them not for a hospital, but for a park. Our guests choose to visit our properties because of the exceptional experience and entertainment we offer them. That must never be lost, not for us or for anyone in the tourism industry” says Rodriguez. “Do we need to practice physical distance? Absolutely! But that should not mean practicing emotional distance. Our job right now is to entertain, inspire happiness and also keep our guests and staff safe.”
Design Physical Safety Measures to Brand Style
The company has looked at every detail possible across its properties to make it the most safe, pleasant, and fun experience for their guests. From building unique washing stations with animals carved around them to wearing beautifully designed masks telling the story of each property. “Guests will not only see animals and nature on our masks, but they’ll also see us wearing them in different colors depending on the day. It’s a way for them to know and see that we’re taking our safety measures seriously,” says Rodriguez.
“This is a great and unique opportunity for our industry to really shine and do what we do best. Take a close at your company and your brand and see how you can make this important change not only as safe as possible for your staff and guests, but also an unforgettable experience that your guests will love and appreciate,” says Rodriguez.
Grupo Xcaret will gradually restart operations of the other parks and tours on in July as it continues to closely monitor new developments and follows government recommendations.