Top 10 Tips for Planning Incentive Trips to Mexico
Mexico is known as one of the top group incentive travel destinations thanks to its warm beaches, great weather, numerous group-friendly hotels, culture, cuisine, history and more. Here are several tips to take into consideration when planning programs in Mexico.
- Passports – ensure that your attendees’ passports are valid for at least 6 months after the return travel date. They may not be allowed into the country if their passport is not valid. This is important to communicate on your registration website and printed collateral pieces. If your attendees are traveling internationally, be sure to check on visa requirements, as well.
- Customs and Immigration Forms – upon arrival at the airport, attendees will need to fill out two forms before passing immigration and customs. They will fill out a customs declaration form and a ‘FMM’ immigration form. Attendees have to complete both forms in their entirety. The immigration agent will keep the top part of the immigration form and stamp the bottom part. Guests must keep the bottom part of the immigration form to give back to the airline when departing from Mexico. If this form is lost, it is a time-consuming process to obtain a new one.
- Airport Arrival Experience – once attendees pass through immigration and customs, they exit to a corridor with many vendors selling timeshares, vacations or taxi services. They can be aggressive and ask questions enticing guests to speak to them causing confusion. Advise guests not to stop in the timeshare corridor and proceed directly outside to the arranged transportation.
- Value Added Tax (VAT) – one of the great selling points for hosting an international meeting in Mexico is the exemption from the country’s 16% Value Added Tax (VAT or IVA as it is known in Spanish). Some hotels require groups to host one business meeting to receive this exemption. Be sure to ask the hotel about taking advantage of this great benefit.
- Zika Virus – there is reported Zika transmission in Mexico, as well as the United States, Central, and South America. Most Zika transmissions are spread by the bite of a mosquito, so it is important to communicate to your attendees to wear long sleeve shirts, pants and wear bug spray. Reference the CDC website for further information on the Zika virus.
- Destination Management Company (DMC) – a good DMC will be a valuable expert on the destination. Their recommendations, expert advice and vendor relationships can make or break your event’s success. They can also help in a bind with any issues that pop up onsite; having this partnership is imperative.
- Shipping Broker – when shipping to Mexico, we recommend hiring a shipping broker that will be your partner and assist in filling out shipping invoices, getting the items through Mexico customs, and making suggestions on items that can and cannot be shipped into Mexico.
- Safety – keep in mind your attendee’s safety when planning programs in Mexico. It is safe to venture off property during the day; however, we prefer to plan evening events on property or in safe, tourist areas. It is also recommended to travel on toll roads whenever possible. Always be aware of your surroundings and leave valuables at home.
- Drinking Water – when planning menus, we recommend bottled water (or ensure water at resorts is purified), not to drink the ice and try to avoid uncooked foods such as salad.
- Language – it is important to learn some basic Spanish to communicate in Mexico. Although many of the people in Mexico speak English, it is beneficial and rewarding to learn a new language and utilize it to speak with the native population. Be sure to include some common Spanish terms your attendees will use in their welcome packets.
It is important to plan ahead when taking an incentive trip anywhere. If you are planning programs to Mexico and need a little help, check out our website and let us help! Brightspot would love to make your incentive travel as seamless and memorable as possible.