No US Passport Required! Is that the right UVP?

US Passport
While Reading Attention! This Book Will Make You Money: How to Use Attention-Getting Online Marketing to Increase Your RevenuePhotos of Raul Colon Web Developer Puerto Rico which I am half way  I realized why wrong the Puerto Rico’s Tourism office is failing greatly in getting more people into the Island.

This past  holiday season was the worst in a decade. Thanks to @lucymfel pointing out this very interesting article by Carribbean Business I was able to have an independent source confirming what I already perceived happening.

Parador owners seek spark amid business chill

One of the biggest problems I see and  fellow Members of the Friends of Puerto Rico group on LinkedIn brought the subject up is how they only focus on bringing in U.S. tourists when it should be a global effort. Not only do they send our tax dollars to ineffective agencies on the U.S. side to promote the Island instead of doing it locally these agencies tend to focus on the U.S. only market.

My biggest issue is that the Unique Value Proposition (UVP) I have seen from the PR Tourism office is No US Passport Required!

Puerto Rico’s tourism office lacks a solid 30 second elevator pitch. Here is how in my opinion I see the elements of what I think should be a 30 second elevator pitch failing greatly.

Public Service Recognition Week Mascot Rally 8

1. Target Market – They have a target market the U.S. not very specific. Where I am not clear is that PR tourism office is trying to bring high income individuals to the island or business travellers which in both groups most of them have passports already. So unless Puerto Rico is looking for the budget travel market I think they fail in pitching to their target market. Approximately 37% of the population (info from have a passport in the U.S.. Which by guessing makes it highly probable that PR Tourism’s target market already has a passport.

2. The Benefits your product or service provide to target markets – If the only benefit they are communicating and offering is No US Passport required which can be easily solved by requesting one every 10 years then we really don’t have an advantage over any other caribbean island.

3. Description of product or service – once again just focusing on the passport says nothing of the experience. People will travel to enjoy the beaches, eat awesome food, snorkel, surf, enjoy the weather year round and many of the other great resources we have on the island. In most of the ads the real resources are secondary.

4. What makes you Unique in your market place – Ok maybe this one they have it right. Hmm well maybe not because people can visit the rest of the U.S. Virgin Islands without a passport.

I guess the elevator pitch idea has to include all of the previous criteria. The PR tourism office needs to start from scratch because none of the 4 elements I placed are aligned to their key goal, bringing the high income or business tourist to the island is not currently working.

My opinion on how to create a unique value proposition. How to reach Puerto Rico Tourism’s UVP?

1. Creating a UVP by identifying unique resources we have and identifying what those business tourists are looking for. Helping small businesses that are key to the tourism industry thrive instead of taxing them to death or leaving them out of the promotions. It is funny how each small business or small hotel is taxed and they receive little to no benefit out of the tourism office.  What unique resources do we have that are attractive o the global business traveller (Not US only)?

2. Making the UVP a clear message.  I remember how the Bahamas use to advertise in Grand Central Station (New York City) where  a high volume of business executives walking thru and going to work might be inspired or motivated to take vacation. On cold snowy days those ads really make me want to go to the Bahamas. Are Puerto Rico’s current ads placed where business tourists will see it? Not many business tourists watch the travel channel. I remember when I worked for KPMG living out of a suitcase I barely got into the hotel room in time to call my family watching TV was not in my list.

3. Allow your markets or possible customers to  tell you what they want. I can tell you for a fact with many concrete examples that the PR tourism office or the current Government does not appreciate feedback. For you to get your UVP you need to be able to listen. I have seen most of the efforts that are online and they are broadcasting not engaging. I don’t see any forums or open areas where people can openly ask questions without moderation. If you only broadcast you don’t get the opportunity to understand what your customers want.

4. Look outside the industry. A good idea might be to see what other industries are doing to fix the issues they bump into. We saw a few days ago how the PR tourism office refuted many real facts from research done about the Island . Once again this was a great opportunity for the PR tourism office to start working on the issues like many companies in other industries have done to correct problems that tarnish their products image. Dell did a great job with Dell Hell maybe they can use them as an example.

5.Improve your customer’s life. We have serious customer service issues all over the Island. The tourism industry has its few gold players in Service like Hotel La Concha and the @sanjuanmarriott (A+ for being Social! Tourist or Mystery Shopper?) but overall I see how many others lack in exceeding customer expectations. How does Puerto Rico Grade in Customer Service? that was a post I wrote a little more than a month ago. Tourism needs to work on creating a service oriented industry. We need to create unique experiences so people can go back and convince their friends that they have to visit Puerto Rico also. I guess Word of Mouth turns out to be more cost effective.

6. Know your strenghts. By identifying your weaknesses you are able to also see where you are not strong. By ignoring your weaknesses you are not able to fix them. The approach I have seen from the Puerto Rico Tourism office is to act like the issues we have locally don’t exist and make others believe the same. Let’s identify our strengths and use those to fix our issues.

Do you think the No US Passport Required focused ads are a got approach long term?

If you where on the PR Tourism office team what would be your 30 second pitch of Puerto Rico?


An online friend @GilTheJenius wrote a great post relating to some of the ideas i shared called New Slogan for Puerto Rico. I sadly have to agree with the slogan and completely agree with @GilTheJenius post. I invite you to read it and share your feedback.


  1. Gil The Jenius on January 13, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    This has been a problem for Our tourism for decades now. Over at The Jenius, I once suggested We could use “Closed For Repairs” as a slogan. Still applies. I also pointed out a marker We could tap: European tourists going to the Dominican Republic. On that island, they receive some 4.1 million European visitors a year while We get fewer than 270,000. Do We market PR in Europe? To the same extent Oscar Mayer markets hot dogs in the Middle East. And We don’t use the Internet at all, not only in terms of feedback, but in terms of identifying and linking to potential travelers. If you’re not at the person’s fingertips when they start their vacation plans, you are not going to be their target destination. Good post and keep it up.

  2. Raul Colon on January 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm


    I think your slogan applies to this day more than 3 years after your post. I think many of us do agree with you on going after European tourists.

    I also went ahead and included your post in the top. Thanks for sharing your awesome ideas and reading my blog.
    I think being at their fingertips and facilitating as much as possible would be a great effort to try.

    Have the Zappos mentality!