The All-Inclusive has Evolved

THE EVOLUTION

of the all-inclusive

Travelers are tired of being nickle and dimed at every turn. With baggage fees nearly as costly as the ticket itself, hidden resort fees, and additional charges if you happen to need the assistance of a human during check-in, it was only a matter of time until travelers demanded more and their cry has been heard.

 

Starting in the early 70’s, the appeal of the all-inclusive resort was mostly to singles seeking a summer romance and chanting the mantra “What happens at Club Med, Stays at Club Med.”

 

As the economy took a downturn in 2008,  the all-inclusive developed an appeal to the budget traveler and the family seeking to stretch every vacation dollar. However, with some new hotel brands in the market and significant changes of pretty much every service offering, the all-inclusive has broadened its appeal to the affluent traveler.

 

The Hyatt, once considered too upscale for the all-inclusive model has acquiesced and opened the Hyatt Zilara Cancun in 2013; followed by the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Jamaica, the Hyatt Ziva in Puerto Vallarta and the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. In November, it is scheduled to open the Hyatt Ziva Cancun.

 

“All-inclusives are no longer a niche market but are now a real category,” said Xavier Mufraggi, CEO of Club Med North America. “There’s big growth in the Caribbean, but also in Asia, where we are launching our fourth property at the end of December.”

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“Globally, the number of travelers booking all-inclusive resorts has motivated hotel companies to raise the bar,” said Adam Stewart. “Early on, the segment was bastardized by long buffet lines and two-star accommodations, but today there is no cap to the creativity that exists in refining, defining and extending this market.”

 

The new and improved all-inclusive model ranges from bare bones to extreme opulence with designer label decor, five-star service and a plethora of amenities, entertainment, sports and recreational activities nearly 24/7.

 

According to a 2014 report by Ernst & Young, the most noticeable improvement at all-inclusives is the quality of food and beverage being offered. Buffet lines have been replaced with high-end restaurants that emphasize local foods and locally sourced ingredients. Upscale bars have replaced basic liquor offerings with premium brands.

 

According to Rose Gray, manager of business development and vacation sales for Fox World Travel, “Six or seven years ago, people would say, ‘Do they have swim- up bar and sufficient lounge chairs around the pool?’ Now, people ask me to describe the spa, the wellness and fitness plan. … People ask about the ingredients in the food, the chef and the wine list.”

 

One of the newest all-inclusive luxury resorts emerging onto the scene is $100 Million EXCELLENCE EL CARMEN in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, scheduled to open September 1st, 2016. EXCELLENCE THE BEAUTY is their first property in Punta Cana and has done very well.

 

Of course, there are still many places where you won’t easily find an all-inclusive, like Hawaii, but with some research and a flexible schedule, you can find an economical deal even in The Hawaiian Islands.

 

As hoteliers scurry to meet the demands of the affluent traveler, nothing beats 5-Star customer service. Be sure and rate the places you visit so others will benefit from your experience.

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“Travel. The best way to be lost… and found… at the same time.”

-Brenna Smith