Why We Need More English Speakers in Playa del Carmen
For my honeymoon back in 2011, we went to Rio de Janeiro, staying at a lovely ocean view apartment right in Copacabana. The vacation rental company that owned the apartment advertised their ability to cater to vacationers from the United States; since my husband and I don’t speak Portuguese (only English and Spanish), we were happy about having an on-site property manager who spoke English, making it easier to communicate. Upon arrival, however, we were greeted by a property manager who claimed she spoke fluent English, but in reality had a very difficult time understanding or being understood. (While I certainly don’t expect everyone in Brazil to speak English, we were disappointed that the services did not fulfill what had been advertised.) As a result, the day we missed our flight home and had to book extra nights, we couldn't communicate with the property manager and ended up going to an internet cafe with all our bags to e-mail the apartment owner back in the States, who hadn't even woken up yet because he was in another time zone. It was the most stressful day of my life, and we were stuck several hours with no one we could talk to for help.
Here in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, travelers as well as vacation rental owners are faced with a similar dilemma. Many vacationers who stay in vacation rentals would prefer on-site property managers who speak their language fluently in order to communicate their needs and wants, and in the Cancun/Riviera Maya region, the top three countries sending us tourists are all primarily English-speaking countries: USA, Canada and the UK. As a result, there is a high demand across the Playa del Carmen hospitality industry for employees who speak English, including property managers for vacation rental properties.
But how good is the local Playa del Carmen population at speaking English? A recent conference hosted by Harmon Hall language school at the Iberostar Cancun resort held some unexpected answers. Mariana Vazquez, the Learning Manager at the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort, gave this conference on why the local travel industry needs English speakers, and where we stand right now. The statistics she revealed might surprise you:
- Despite the fact that Mexico is the #9 travel destination in the world and relies primarily on travelers from English-speaking countries, Mexico ranks only as country #40 in the world for English skills.
- Our state of Quintana Roo receives more English-speaking tourists than any other state in Mexico, but we only rank at #28 out of 32 states for English skills… one of the worst in the country.
What does all this tell us? The Riviera Maya’s English skills aren’t nearly as good as we think they are… and we really need them to be among the best in the world.
If you own are buying a condo in Playa del Carmen that you are using as a vacation rental, odds are that you need a property manager to be your in-town liaison between you and your renters. You need someone here, on the ground, to fix any immediate problems and help your guests with anything they need. And yes, you probably need them to speak English.
If you have English-speaking guests from Canada, for example, who are having a problem with the washing machine, or a medical emergency, or something as basic as questions on how to get around town, it’s important for them to be able to communicate their needs to the property manager with no misunderstandings. As one Harmon Hall teacher said during the conference, “How can you help if you don’t know what the need is?”
Harmon Hall, one of the most prestigious and trusted language schools in Mexico, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, specializing in English language courses. Especially here in Playa del Carmen, Harmon Hall has positioned itself as one of the top options for businesses that want to provide an education in the English language for their employees. If you’re interested in English classes for yourself, your property manager or any other employees, visit HarmonHall.com for more info.
And if you're interested in becoming a vacation rental owner, visit us at BuyPlaya.com to see the variety of Playa del Carmen condos and Riviera Maya beach homes we have for sale that would work perfectly for your vacation rental investment.