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The Rise of All-inclusive resorts
These days resort packages seem to be filled with many hidden fees. These include checked bags, extra resort fees, and high Wi-Fi charges. In such a time it’s no wonder that many vacationers are on the lookout for all-inclusive resorts; which is why the model is gaining popularity. While it’s currently a small portion of the overall industry, it is growing with footholds in the Caribbean and Mexican areas as well as in other non-beach locations. Major hotel brands like are now embracing it. Additionally, places like Saint Martin and Puerto Rico are slowing accepting the changes.
After the 2008 recession, there was speculation that the revenues brought in by all-inclusive resorts would annually increase by 2.5%. Travel agents are agreeing with such assessments with one stating that all-inclusive bookings have grown exponentially in the last few years. It has also been stated that nearly a decade ago all-inclusive resorts were for budget minded travelers but now there’s a greater mix of people from different financial backgrounds staying at them.
Things have changed for the all-inclusive resort over the years. They first emerged in the Caribbean during the 70’s with no business model or plan. One exception was Club Med which started in Europe during the 50’s and was among the first establishments to offer the whole resort experience for one price. This, as well as the party atmosphere and the promise of romance, bought many visitors to them, particularly singles. Over 45 years later, the all-inclusive resort model dominates many parts of the Caribbean and Mexico. It has also reached Europe and is slowly venturing into Central America, South America, Asia, and Africa.
AMResorts, a subsidiary of Apple Leisure Group, has grown rapidly. It has just made its 15th resort deal and by the end of 2016 it will have 40 all-inclusives in the Caribbean, Mexico, Costa-Rica, and Panama. Club Med has over 65 locations all around the world, including a growing number of ski resorts.
Within the Caribbean there are over 250 all-inclusive resorts. Mexico has 175 and still counting. These resorts span more than 35 companies with that number expected to increase as more brands join the all-inclusive waters.
New Players Entering the Market
Although a small number of brands dominate the all-inclusive market, that isn’t stopping new ones from getting into the field. Surprisingly Hyatt Hotels has joined in with the launching of both an adults-only and family-friendly resort.
One of the largest companies that deals in all-inclusive resorts is Sandals Resorts International which owns Sandals, Beaches, and Grand Pineapple Resorts. The company holds 20 properties on 7 Caribbean islands, and is growing still. Sandals has helped raise the quality of all-inclusive resorts, motivated in no small part by increased demand for them. No longer do these places offer bland buffets or sub-par accommodations but amenities such as swim-up bars, fire pits, and high class restaurants. The increase in quality of services is allowing resorts to charge more, overcoming the problem of not being able to up-sell the customers and bring in more revenue.
All-inclusive resorts now cater to a number of different people, ranging from couples to singles to families to honeymooners. One group that they sometimes have trouble with, though, is millennials who want spontaneity. It’s been predicted as they get older affordability will become a greater priority.
A common concern is that all-inclusive resorts keeps tourist dollars away from the local economy. These fears are being put to rest with places like Sandals Resorts working to give back to the area whether by using local food or encouraging their guests to explore the communities. It has been said that Sandals Resorts gets about 60% of their guests off-property. More and more all-inclusive resorts are following this route.
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