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Mexico 2018 | TOURISM | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Rodrigo De La Peña, CEO of Original Group, on making just the right sensual renovations, the importance of year-round accessibility, and offering guests a unique, clothing-optional atmosphere.

Rodrigo De La Peña
BIOGRAPHY
Rodrigo De La Peña has been CEO of Original Group since 1999. He obtained a BA in business administration from the Instituto Panamericano de Alta Dirección de Empresa (IPADE).

What was the decision behind rebranding the group?

Established more than 35 years ago, Original Resorts quickly became one of the pioneers in adult vacation experiences and was rebranded into Original Group in 2016. The main objective behind this rebranding was to keep up with the company's continued growth and showcase its ever-expanding array of offerings. The company's branding relaunch includes a new name, a new logo, and an exciting new website detailing its hospitality collections aimed at a discerning, sensual clientele. Original Group currently boasts an impressive portfolio of brand labels including: Desire, Temptation, Premier vacation club, Swingee, Marina Hacienda Del Mar, and several additional real estate developments. Recently, the brand's adult-themed Temptation Cancún Resort underwent 11 months of extensive renovations and reopened on August 15 with a new seven-story multicolor façade, upgraded guestrooms, its very own sexy pool, and much more. This beachfront all-inclusive property was the first one built in Cancún in 1974 and caters to adults over 21 who love to party in a free-spirited atmosphere. The multi-million-dollar enhancement project was led by world-renowned designer Karim Rashid and has redefined Cancun's skyline. Customers have responded extremely well to the renovation, and 65% of the hotel's business comes from existing customers, which is high for the industry

How would you characterize Mexico's attractiveness in the adult tourism sector?

During the last decade, adult-only resorts have been rising in popularity, and many hospitality brands have decided to adapt to this growing trend by creating adult-only resorts and spaces for its guests. OriginalGroup has been one of the pioneers in adult vacation experiences in Mexico, which offers a wide variety of adult-oriented properties ranging from hyper-luxurious retreats to fun-packed mega-resorts. Some of Mexico's most popular resort destinations include Cancún, Riviera Maya, and Los Cabos. These destinations are highly attractive for adult tourism due to its friendly locals, vast array of entertainment options, pristine beaches, and rich culture. They are also ideal for year-round travel due to its flight and accommodation accessibility.

Can you tell us about your expansion plans in the cruise industry?

Our Desire brand currently includes all-inclusive resorts Desire Riviera Maya Pearl Resort and Desire Riviera Maya Resort, along with Desire Venice Cruise and Desire Barcelona-Rome Cruise. Desire targets couples only, granting guests a unique, clothing-optional atmosphere, with a sense of freedom outside of conventional environments. These unique experiences include the latest in adult entertainment, provocative theme nights, couples' workshops, indoor/outdoor playrooms, gourmet dining, brand name beverage service, and much more. We recently took our adult-themed concept to sea for the first time ever with the Desire Venice Cruise, which sailed along the Adriatic Sea from September to October 2017. The voyage departed from and culminated in Venice, Italy, stopping in several ports in Croatia and Slovenia. Our next charter operation will set sail along the Mediterranean Sea in April 2018, departing from Barcelona and culminating in Rome. The company's future exp`ansion plans in the cruise industry aim to offer two cruises per year starting in 2018 for our Desire brand before proceeding to launch our Temptation cruise in 2020. The majority of our cruise customers are from Europe and the US, while the Mexican market makes up 10% of our clientele.

What opportunities do you see in the development of your available land?

Cancún's real estate market is booming, and Original Group is currently working on several developments including Puerto del Mar, which is located right next to Puerto Cancún. The Puerto Cancún project will offer between 3,000 to 5,000 units for sale, while Puerto del Mar will offer 2,000 apartments. Even though it's a smaller project, it will also represent smaller costs than those associated with Puerto Cancún. Cancún's hotel zone and Puerto Cancún are among the most expensive in Mexico, one of the reasons we aim to market Puerto del Mar.