Tragedy and terror ensued at the popular Hyatt Ziva all-inclusive resort in Cancun. I have some thoughts and questions for our readers.
***Note: A prior version used the incorrect aerial image which has since been replaced.
Incident at Hyatt Ziva Riviera, Cancun
This week, an active shooter incident was reported at the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun. Warring drug gangs opened fire and the two drug dealers were killed on the beach while guests were told to take cover and barricade themselves in their rooms. Twitter user, Mike Sington, offered comprehensive coverage in his feed:
Active shooter at Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun Resort. All guests confined to lobby now. Hotel staff huddled together in corner. Still no announcement or update from hotel, Hyatt, or police. Several guests have now told be they saw gunman come up from the beach, actively shooting. pic.twitter.com/fL9BP7Jisb
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) November 4, 2021
Do Dangerous Incidents Keep You From Booking?
When tragedy strikes an area, does this make you less likely to book? I’ll share a personal story to illustrate.
A few years ago, my wife and I were considering North African destinations following some good experiences in Morocco. A friend of ours suggested her home country, Tunisia. As we explored options, an atrocity took place on the beach in a famous resort area frequented by westerners. We like to think that resorts and the beach are generally safe but this gave us pause.
We never looked at booking to Tunisia again, but not consciously because of the incident, it simply never again crossed our minds until now.
The alleged cartel combatants weren’t targeting the Hyatt Ziva as a brand in particular nor its guests according to reports. However, the name of the hotel has been widely circulated in a way that the hotel never otherwise would have been. It could have happened anywhere and logically, the hotel is safer now than before the incident as Ziva has added security to prevent a further attack.
Still, it will be tough for some to book the Hyatt Ziva knowing that the event took place there. Concerns about safety will remain, irrational as it may be. There will be a certain contingent of guests who know that the event was unrelated to the property but still find it too hard to book there as opposed to other properties in the area. It does not help that of the two Hyatt all-inclusive brands, Ziva is the family-welcome brand while Zilara is adults-only.
Cancun and the resort districts have, for the most part, remained safe from the drug war violence raging in other Mexican states. This incident brings that danger to the forefront and on the front page of every newspaper. Does that mean that Cancun, Quintana Roo, and other resort towns like Puerto Vallarta, or Cabo San Lucas are at risk in a way that hadn’t heretofore been a target?
Statistically, Cancun is no more dangerous than any major city in the United States – in fact, it’s safer than most despite cartel violence. Still, my gut tells me that some will avoid Cancun over this issue in a way that they do not avoid trips to more dangerous cities around the US.
What’s The Right Approach?
Assuming for the purpose of this post that guests avoid Cancun and the Hyatt Ziva, is this a rational approach? Should guests opt for Ziva Riviera specifically because staff will be trained, remain more vigilant, and additional security will be brought in? Will guests choose other destinations over Cancun more generally?
It may not just be illogical, it may be immoral to avoid either as a result of this issue. Those that work at the property were undoubtedly traumatized, but a lack of guests will put their jobs at risk as well.
The owners of the hotel have a new image problem, all-inclusive guests do not want to think about how much safer the hotel is by seeing heavily armed guards in the lobby. However, not having heavily armed guards in the lobby might make guests feel that they did not take the incident seriously.
And for the sadists out there, rates at the Hyatt Ziva are likely to drop as bookings do. Does that create an opportunity for those who are unafraid of future violence at the resort? Is scooping up deals only made available due to the traumatic event that took place there a moral hazard as well?
There are more questions than answers in this post. While I know that fear of violence at the property is irrational, illogical, and unlikely, I am as human as anyone else and wonder whether this will be a hindrance for others as it could be for me.
What do you think? Is the hotel safer now than it was before? Will guests book away from the property and/or Cancun, Mexico?