Mexico City – your next must-visit destination

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Mexico City is a riot of colour. It is the most vibrant place I have ever visited. Rainbow brightness roars from every wall – the streets are a jumble of houses in bubblegum pink; canary yellow; burnt orange; turquoise… and then you step into the Palacio Nacional and the history of Mexico is laid out in broad brushstrokes of every hue imaginable. The mural of Diego Rivera is an incredible chronicle and homage to a people whose heritage is as rich and varied as the colours that are daubed on the walls.

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Houses in Mexico City

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Diego Rivera Mural

Tourism in Mexico City is at an all time high. They now have over thirteen million people visiting each year, and are keen to establish themselves on the world stage as a destination spot. And why not? They boast three of the best 100 global restaurants, and there are 188 museums, putting them just behind London for the most in any city. Ideas of less-than salubrious streets with a reputation of danger should be left firmly in the past – Mexico City is cosmopolitan, crammed with culture, and offers the chance to see Latin America at its very best. Whether sipping Patron tequila in a shady, marble-tiled courtyard, or tapping your feet to a mariachi band in the Plaza Garibaldi, then there is something to tempt everyone.

So, when visiting, what are the key places to explore?

Art:

Art goes some way to defining Mexico – two of its most famous contemporary individuals, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivers, were inspired by the depth of history and culture that surrounded them. To truly immerse yourself in the story of Mexico City, visit the Palace Nacional and spend a few hours gawping, open-mouthed, at the incredible murals painted by Diego Rivera. Nothing quite prepares you for the spectacle of colour that chronicles the arrival of the Aztecs, to the invasion of the Spanish, right on through to Mexico’s independence in 1810.

For a more contained and yet no less powerful collection, head over to bohemian Coyoacan neighborhood and visit the Casa Azul – or rather, the Blue House where a collection of Frida Kahlo’s work is kept. Her paintings are full of incredible vitality, despite their morose and sometimes morbid subject matter. If you’ve admired them for afar, be prepared for the emotion that seeing them up close brings.

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Frida Kahlo Artwork

Museums:

The National Museum of Anthropology is a must-visit for anyone wanting to attempt to grasp a sense of this wonderful country – it is an incredible piece of architecture in itself, with an umbrella-style roof that is supported by a single column and allows water to cascade into the centre courtyard. Containing one of the world’s largest collections of archaeological and anthropological artifacts, from Pre-Hispanic Mayan civilizations to the Spanish conquest, you can wander for hours taking in wonders such as the Aztec Calendar, a reconstruction of an eighth century Mayan tomb, and reproduction of the vine-laden Templo en Campeche de Chaac.

For those interested in learning about the famous tipples of Mexico, we recommenda trip to the Tequila and Mezcal museum. Learn all about the agave plant, the difference between the two beverages, and the varieties available – then spend some time perusing the fabulous gift shop.

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Temple in the anthropological museum

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Mezcal and Tequila museum gift shop

Shopping:

The trendy area of Zona Rosa is well know for its shopping – here you’ll find major brands, boutique shops, and designer stores. For something a little more quaint then you absolutely must visit San Angel on a Saturday. When the weekend rolls around, traders and stalls pop up with their vibrant wares – glorious paintings that turn the streets into decorated galleries; beautiful swathes of cloth and material;and hand-crafted curios such as silverware and pottery. Exploring the many kiosks and wandering around the gorgeous colonial-style houses makes for a wonderful day out.

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San Angel market

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San Angel market

Excursions:

A lovely afternoon can be spent in the district of Xochimilco, just south of the city. This UNESCO heritage site reminds visitors that the Aztec capital was situated on a lake, navigated by a huge system of canals. It’s rather jolly to hire a trajinera and be punted along amongst the floating gardens – at weekends this is a popular choice for Mexicans of all ages, and water-bound picnics are regular occurrences.

No visit to Mexico City would be complete without a trip to the pyramids of Teotihuacan, about 30 miles northeast of the city. It translates as ‘the place where the Gods were created’, on account of the Aztec’s assumption that only divine beings could have produced such magnificent structures. Wandering around the ruins of temples gives some insight into the incredible dexterity of the people of the past. If you’re feeling fit, you can climb the 248 steps of the Temple of the Sun and be rewarded with breathtaking views and vast blue skies.

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Trajineras

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Teotihuacan

Food and Drink:

Naturally there is one spirit in particular that resonates with Mexico, and it would almost be sacrilegious to visit without drinking some. Here, the agave plant rules, and the top drink is tequila. Whether enjoyed in margaritas (of which there are many), or drunk neat, then there’s no-where on earth that it will taste so good. And the best? It has to be Patron, the hand-crafted, ultra premium tequila from Jalisco. Its smooth taste ensures both connoisseurs and novices alike will be announcing it as a favourite. And when it comes to bars, Mexico has a great variety. Again, Zona Rosa and the youthful Condesa neighborhood offer a plethora of opportunities to let your hair down. One of our favourite bars for cocktails was LA No 20 Cantina. With three sites in Mexico and one in Florida, it perfectly mixes swanky art-deco chic with vivacious evening fun, and the cocktails are fabulous. A tip? Order the frozen margarita – you’ll be on Instagram in seconds.

When it comes to gastronomy, Mexico City has a huge number of opportunities to excite your palate. The street food culture here is wonderful, with tasty taco stands lining many streets. For fine-dining, Pujolis rated as the sixteenth best restaurant in the world, and has a stunning taster menu. A great in-between option is El BajioCocina Mexicana, offering traditional and authentic cuisine in a quirky environment. And whatever you do, make sure at some point you have a breakfast of Huevos Rancheros. It really is the best start to the day.

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Patron Tequila

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Huevos Rancheros

Where to Stay:

Mexico has an abundance of places to rest your head, ranging from boutique hotels, comfortable hostels and more swish lodgings. For a purse-friendly and lovely stay, book into Casa de la Condesa.This family run establishment gives visitors a chance to travel back in time and relax in the hacienda-style surroundings – there are glorious curios dotted about the place, warm and helpful staff, and a pretty little courtyard to enjoy breakfast. The rooms are cool, have an authentic Latin-American feel, and many boast a little balcony overlooking the sparkling fountains outside.

If you’re feeling like something a little more luxurious, then it has to be MarquisReforma. This glossy and sumptuous five star hotel and spa has everything one could wish for in ultimate comfort – huge suites that boast sliding partitions between bedroom and lounging areas, expert masseuses on hand to release any tensions, and two delicious restaurants. The foyer itself is a thing of beauty, resplendent with marble, arching figures of dancers, and an impressive water feature.

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Casa de la Condesa

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Marquis Reforma

Getting there:

Aeromexico flies non-stop from London Heathrow throughout September for an average of about £1200 return.

For more details of Mexico City, see the CDMX website

Words and photos by Rebecca Milford @rebecca_anne_m

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Rebecca Milford atop the sun temple, huzzah!

BOE Magazine

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How a Travel Company Used Facebook and Their Website to Crowdsource Their Next Destination Offering

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Posted by Sara on 27 May 2015 / 0 Comment

Crowdsourcing is a tactic businesses can use to find out what kinds of products or services their customers wish they’d offer. It can save a business time and money because it helps make clear what customers want.

In this case study, we’ll show you how Tusker Trail used Facebook and their website to determine their next Tusker Trail Trek destination. We’ve laid out the steps they took to plan and execute a crowdsourcing Campaign that resulted in 16,174 Campaign views and 4,622 votes.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

• Why Tusker Trail decided to let their customers determine the location of their next trek.
• How they determined which online outlet to use to promote their Campaign.
• How they motivated their followers to vote.
• How Tusker Trail continued communicating with their entrants once the Campaign had ended.

Let’s get started.

Step #1: Pick a Goal

Setting defined goals is key to running a successful Campaign. Decide: What are the top one or two things (three at the most) you want to achieve?

Here are some common goals we see among ShortStack users:

• Increase brand awareness.
• Promote a new product or service.
• Boost user engagement.
• Gather user feedback.
• Gather user content (photos, video, etc.).
• Develop brand advocates.
• Convert followers into leads.
• Convert followers into sales.
• Grow a social media presence.

Tusker Trail’s primary goal was to generate emails to be used for future marketing efforts.

Their secondary goals were to increase the exposure of the Tusker Trail brand to a relevant audience, and to position the company on social media as an innovative leader in the adventure travel category.

Tusker Trail decided to use a crowdsourcing contest to meet their goals because it allowed them to interact with their followers and collect email addresses. There was also a valuable prize: a trek to one of four destinations.

“We decided to see where people would want to go on a trek rather than creating a destination they may not be interested in,” said Milena Regos, a digital marketing strategist for Out and About Marketing who works with Tusker Trail. “We wanted to save ourselves a potential headache down the road with trying to sell a destination that people may not want.”

The takeaway: Keeping your customers and fans in mind when creating goals will ensure you’re running a meaningful and relevant promotion.


Tusker Trail Crowdsourcing Campaign


Step #2: Determine Where to Place Your Campaign

Once you’ve narrowed down your goals, it’s time to determine where you should host your promotion in order for the widest audience possible to see it. Social networks and software companies have opened the door for a variety of opportunities for placing a campaign. Businesses have the option of hosting a promotion in a single place, such as an individual social network or their website, or they can combine these two strategies.

When Tusker Trail considered the best place to host their promotion, they determined that the more places they could place the promotion the wider an audience they could reach.

Using ShortStack’s publishing features Tusker Trail was able to place their Campaign on their Facebook Page and embed it on their website, essentially doubling the reach of the Campaign.

“If you only put your promotion on Facebook you’re not reaching all of the people that are coming to your website,” said Regos. “If someone is looking to book a trip with Tusker Trail and they go to the website they can see the potential to win a free trip, so why not give them that opportunity?”

The takeaway: Make it easy for visitors to find and enter your promotion from multiple channels.

Step #3: Pick a Promotion Strategy

The most important step in executing a Campaign is promoting it. The “build it and they will come” theory does not work for most marketing campaigns.

Tusker Trail drove all of their Facebook-generated traffic to their Facebook app. This included organic reach from status updates and a small investment in sponsored posts and Facebook ads. It’s smart to only send Facebook fans and users to the Facebook hosted Campaign so that entrants are not limited by whether or not they have a Facebook profile.  All other online followers should be directed to a website or landing page to ensure a user-friendly experience.


Tusker Trail Facebook Sponsored Post


To drive traffic to Campaign Tusker Trail embedded on their website, Tusker Trail purchased banner and display ads using a Google AdWords campaign. These ads led visitors to the homepage of their website where they could access the Campaign.


Tusker Trail Ad


To further their promotions and ensure they reached their entire online audience, Tusker Trail posted about their promotion on their blog, sent an email newsletter to past customers in their email database and posted on Twitter and Google+, directing users on those platforms to Tusker.com.

Finally, Tusker Trail implemented a public relations strategy that included reaching out to industry and local media.

The takeaway: Have a well-rounded promotion strategy that places your campaign in the eyes of as many people as possible.

Step #4: Collect the Results

Analyzing the results of a crowdsourced Campaign are a crucial step in the process. Results determine whether goals were met and help shape a follow-up marketing strategy.

Tusker Trail received 16,174 views to their Campaign, and 4,622 votes. Tusker Trail collected 1,817 new email addresses and, although they weren’t requiring Likes, the contest also resulted in 353 new Facebook fans.

From September 12 through October 31, 2014, Tusker Trail ran Facebook ad campaigns and were able to garner 298,255 impressions and 12,848 clicks at $ 0.26 per click.

When it comes to promoting a campaign, traditional efforts are still valuable. Tusker Trail’s local PR efforts landed them stories in a variety of travel outlets including About.com, Adventure Travel News and The Adventure Travel. These placements allowed their promotion to be tweeted out to an audience well beyond their existing followers.


Tusker Trail Coverage


Ultimately Tusker Trail’s audience voted (in a landslide) for the company to add Patagonia to its lineup.


Tusker Trail Results


The takeaway: A thorough analysis of results can assist in adjusting your strategy for your next promotion.

Step #5: Use the Data

Once a promotion is over there is still more work to do. A significant part of a promotion’s success is using the information and data collected for future marketing efforts.

Tusker Trail prepared a specific follow-up email strategy to target the 1,817 entrants they had on their promotion. They set up a newsletter series that included five emails which were sent out over a period of several months after the promotion ended. The emails included travel tips, guides and information about new treks. Once the series ended the 1,817 people were added to Tusker Trail’s regular email schedule.

“The purpose of the emails is to keep the engagement with the database we’ve collected,” said Regos. “We’re continuing the conversation with our entrants and providing them value at the same time. The emails are not salesy, they’re just informative. Because of this we’re seeing really good open rates and click through rates.”

The takeaway: Have a follow-up marketing strategy in place to continue communicating with entrants and converting them into sales.

**Photo Credit: Out and About Marketing



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