How to do advertising in Playa Del Carmen and not waste your money

advertising playa del carmen

Advertising in Playa Del Carmen

Are you thinking or opening a business in Playa Del Carmen? Are you a new business owner and want to advertise to get business? How do you do this? Advertising in Playa Del Carmen is most likely very different from where you are from. Playa Del Carmen is unique it the way you need to advertise. Here are tons of tips and things for you to think about.

Playa Del Carmen Advertising Strategies

More (almost retirement age) people are moving to Mexico. The idea of owning a business in the Caribbean is the perfect life. You get to live in Mexico, earn some income and enjoy. But first you need to get that business going and keep it going.

For those that get through all the paperwork of actually opening a business, next comes the grand opening and advertising it. It can be very hard and confusing trying to figure out how to do this. Not only is advertising in Playa Del Carmen hard, it is also a foreign country with it’s own special nuances.

How advertising in Mexico compares to other countries

Advertising in some countries is a true art form. There are multimillion dollar agencies that will deliver you the sales you want and promote your image. However in Mexico advertising is years if not decades behind. Many businesses in Mexico simply don’t advertise. Many people just open a business and expect people to come.

This can be a reprieve from the constant bombardment of advertising and junk mail in other countries but advertising can be a good thing, linking customers to products that they might want. So what makes advertising in Playa Del Carmen so hard? We will talk about that next.

playa del carmen advertising

Why Playa Del Carmen is a hard to advertise in

Here are 7 reasons why advertising in Playa Del Carmen is hard. We will discuss below how you can overcome these

  1. Playa Del Carmen is a very international market.

You have multiple language groups like English and Spanish among others. You have to think about your target language and how to reach them.

     2. There are thousands of tourist that come daily to Playa Del Carmen.

People stay for about a week and that is a challenge to reach new people each week. In other cities that are less tourist oriented you can advertise to residents and then they know about your business. You can advertise every once in a while to remind people about your services. In Playa Del Carmen however that is much harder with a transient flow.

      3. There is no centralized place to advertise.

The Playa Del Carmen advertising scene is fractured between , print, radio, TV, billboard and internet. This means picking the best places to advertise your business where you think you will best reach your consumers. It also can mean spending advertising several different avenues. There is not one big radio or tv station people watch here. Both print and internet are divided into language groups and even economic divides.

      4. Advertising venues are sometimes too good at advertising themselves.

This means that when you look for places to advertise it can be confusing to actually know which one reaches the most people and if the people the reach are your target audience. Just because you might know of them, it does not mean they are the biggest or best option for you.

      5. You cannot do it by yourself anymore.

The idea of giving people the power to do anything online and promote your business has passed. You can post on your own Facebook page and even open one for a business. You can tweet all you want but no one really uses Twitter anymore. Posting photos on instagram can get a like, but does it equal a sale? You can have a website but people need to find it. With all this in mind you really need to have a platform to work from. This means going to a media source that has the power to get out your message.

    6. There are social media managers. Should you hire one?

This is another area where you have to make a good decision. There are many people that say they are a social media manager but only tweet, post and comment for you (basically what every teen does daily). Some of the things a social media manager offers like tweeting are almost irrelevant nowadays.

It can be a full time job just to reach a few people. Truly having a professional on your side is better and you have to see if it is worth it. In the end these people still have to reach out to media venues to get out your message. So it is up to you if you see value in a social media person or if you want to deal directly with advertising with media.

     7. You partially need to know advertising and understand how advertisers will work for you.

It an be easy to make a placement of an ad sound like a good opportunity. But actually knowing if that internet page will get hits or views can be hard. You need to know what is the best place, for example on a website, which page is good for you. It can mean the difference in 10,000’s views per month which page or where your ad is. Does the media that you want to advertise in have your customers?

The first thing you need to do when planning advertising

The first thing you need to think about is where are your customers and who are they. It will depend on the type of business you have if you are focused on tourists or locals or a mix of both. Since most people open bars, restaurants and service businesses in Playa Del Carmen we can focus on talking a little more about them.

Where are your customers and how to reach them? If you are targeting tourists you need to know where their eyes are. How do people research their trip and what do they look at. This can mean thinking about online advertising since most tourist come from outside the area and they do not have access to print, radio, billboard, or TV advertising. It is a fact that most tourist look online these days to plan out their trip.

Ask your customers

One important thing pre-existing business owners can do is ask their customer how they found out about their business. This can give you valuable insight into how your existing customers found you and what they used to research their trip. Some will tell you about websites and places that you cannot actually advertise on. You can however focus on what avenues you can place an ad or get into.

Word of mouth advertising

Some businesses we know here in Playa Del Carmen have opened with the idea of providing a good service and letting word of mouth do the talking. Certainly having a good product is a great start. However we know of some great restaurants that just do not do well because they only relied on word or mouth. This approach to marketing can fail because:

  • Word of mouth can be slow. You need to start making money sooner than later.
  • After the initial hubbub of talk goes around it can die out. A new business opens and it is the talk of the town.
  • The words of tourists leaves with them and you need to have a source that will tell people about places.

This is where reviews come in handy and knowing local influential people and places to get the word out. Places where the word reaches people and keeps reaching people. That is one of the reasons we do reviews and guides to Playa Del Carmen so people can find good businesses here. We have helped over a million people find information about Playa Del Carmen!

What about marketing on Facebook?

One popular online advertising venue is Facebook. Many people are on Facebook and Facebook promotes this as a great way to advertise. The problem with this is, Facebook cannot know who is coming to Playa Del Carmen. If you advertise and select people in Playa Del Carmen, well then you are reaching locals or people here. This might not be your target audience and if you are going after tourists, it opens the chance to advertise in many countries but you still do not know which of the millions of people might be coming to Mexico.

So for many business owners Facebook is not a good option for trying to advertise to tourists. Playa Del Carmen advertising on Facebook however can be good for some local businesses that target locals. Since this social platform is used by so many, you can reach people here. However it should be noted that you need to calculate the cost of marketing with Facebook and compare it will other venues.

Of course print, radio and TV media cannot tell you exactly where their viewers are or how many exactly see it. Websites however can tell you exactly how many and in what countries they are from. This can be helpful in knowing what website reaches certain markets and the amount of people.

What about a Facebook page vs. website?

As mentioned above, trying to advertise yourself is a hard task. Actually using social media to your advantage takes a platform. Some businesses think that having a Facebook page will be enough. But how will people find it? Does simply posting pictures and comments bring you business?

If you have a popular business you might have a big fan base. This means that you can reach these people when you post right? No. Facebook uses algorithms for who receives your post. This is not a bad thing for the individual people. People would turn off Facebook if you got every post from every person and business you like or are friends with. This means however that people only see a few post you might make.

Having a Facebook page is a tool but only part of your advertising. You really have to think about how people search. Google is where people go and Facebook pages do not rank as high in search results. Websites often rank higher if you have your own website for your business. You can also rank higher in certain categories of search results.

In the end having either a Facebook page or website is good but you have to remember people only find this if they are searching for your business exactly. It still takes more advertising to get word out.

How to do a Grand Opening in Playa Del Carmen

Once you get you business open you most people think about a grand opening. This creates some buzz and lets people know you are open. However we have seen many failed openings in Playa. Here are some of the things that people do wrong.

  • They invite everyone. They think having a large crowd will be best. But it can be too crowded for the press to get photos and get to know your place. We went to one grand opening. It was a small sushi restaurant (which is now closed) and they had free samples for everyone. It was so crowded and disorganized that only a few people ate free sushi while everyone else just stood around. Sometimes having a press event and then general public works good.
  • Give out your actual product. We went to a grand opening at a barbeque restaurant (which is now closed). They had drinks but no samples of their barbeque. We left not knowing what it was like, nor did we returned to find out.
  • Treat the press right. It is exciting to have your friends there but the press are the ones that can and will be talking more about you. Press does not have to write about every new place but the ones that treat the press the best certainly get better coverage.
  • Don’t send out an invitation a few days in advance or even a week. It is not like people are just sitting around waiting for something to write about. Most media is a business as well and they are planning out their schedule. You want to have the best people come, so start planning ahead of time.
  • Don’t treat all media the same. There are a lot of platforms of media. Some of these are small and some are very large. If you treat all press with the same access and samples then it shows you don’t know the importance of one media over the other or appreciate what they are doing.
  • Ask the media what you can do to make their job easier. This is a very important point. Some media does not publish press releases, some do not print stock photos or overly commercialized promotions of your business. Some media need good access to our business. Have people that can explain our business in multiple languages to press. Help the press do the best job to get the message out.

Tips for getting your name right

One tip we want to offer businesses opening in Playa Del Carmen is about your name. This can be very important to get this right for several reasons.

First off your business name should sound good in both English and Spanish. These are the two most important languages spoken in Playa. If your name is a pun on a word in one language it could end up just being confusing in another. Also knowing the cultures helps. For example a floral company wanted to open a wedding service here. The asked us what we thought of the name “Vanilla”. They liked it because it was a beautiful flower and popular in Mexican culture. We highlighted the fact that in English speaking North America it usually means “simple” or “boring”. They had no idea and hence did not name their business that.

Your business name for the digital world and marketing

Another big tip for you about your business name is to think about the digital world. How things are searched for and found will effect your business. Here are some examples.

  • Don’t get fancy with hyphens. Actually don’t use them. Google only allows you to search words so then it becomes an issue if your name is one word or to.
  • Be consistent with spelling and form. For example if you name your place PuroPlaya. It is a good name but if people see your website They will not know if your name is “Puro Playa” or “Puroplaya”. It becomes important how people can find you in google. You might get great reviews online but people might not see them if they google the other form of the name.
  • Pick a unique name. A new condo building in Playa was recently named “It Condo”. That is fine but when someone wants to find out more about it and searches “It Condo” every website for every condo comes up because the search words are very common. Almost ever condo’s website will be listed because they have the two words on their websites. Choose a name that is unique but still easy to remember.

Sometimes it is more location then advertising

No doubt one of the best places in Playa Del Carmen for a business is on 5th Avenue. This is why rents are so high there. You have thousands of people walking by your door every day. Many people just walk in a business because they are there or it looks nice. It has nothing to do with advertising, just location.

In fact many places on 5th Avenue do little advertising because they have so many people passing by. Only when there is a lot of competition for a service do businesses look to promote themselves. It can also be that certain businesses on 5th Avenue are not in the most desirable location. Yes, even location on 5th Avenue matters.

This is why picking a location is so important for your business in Playa Del Carmen. Some people look at real estate and rentals thinking that just a block or even half a block off 5th Avenue would be a suitable location for their establishment. In about 6 months many people realize there that was a miscalculation and the slight discount in the price of rent meant a huge discount in the amount of people coming.

avertising in playa del carmen
The pedestrian 5th Avenue in Playa Del Carmen

Get to know Playa Del Carmen

Knowing Playa Del Carmen can take a while. It means knowing traffic flows and what the future of certain areas are going to be like. Since you are reading this article, you must know that we know how to reach people. One service we offer to readers and people looking to open a business in Playa Del Carmen is a business consultation.  We have dealt with hundreds of businesses in Playa and like to offer valuable information based on specific plans. If you are interested you can contact us under the about tab on the home page.

We wish anyone opening a new business here in Playa Del Carmen success. You might also like to read our large article about opening a business in Playa Del Carmen or our article with a local business owner.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article about advertising in Playa Del Carmen and how to navigate it. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to comment below.


  1. Hi
    I can attest to some of these ideas. I opened a business in Playa in 2017 and it was ver hard to advertise it. It took about 5 to 9 months to get things running the wa we wanted. These tips here should help others that want to open a business in Playa.

  2. Very helpful tips. I hope some business owners read this. I see that most businesses don’t know how to advertise here. I worked in advertising in New York and cringe when I see the kids “doing social media” for the hotels and other places.

  3. It is hard to run a business in Play. We had friends that opened a restaurant but put all their effort into the decor and no advertising. It did not last long although I thik the location they picked was wrong. That is very important in Playa.

  4. This is great you give out so much free information for free. I hope people that need this find it. It is only in thier best interest to follow it.

  5. I think a lot of people have a dream of moving to the Caribbean and opening a business to support living there but they really don’t do the research to follow through. There is a lot of advice here that people should read when they have a business.

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