Since the dawn of the all-inclusive model, there have been numerous reasons—value and convenience high among them—why selecting this type of resort stay has its advantages.
At a time when many remain reluctant to travel and others are just beginning to venture outside the United States, all-inclusive resorts seem to be winning once again.
As value and convenience endure, a whole new set of reasons why these properties are appealing to travelers during COVID-19 have emerged. Travel Market Report spoke to travel advisors who are unreservedly selling and enthusiastically recommending all-inclusive resorts to their clients. Why?
Here are just some of the reasons:
1. Consistent Quality Control Standards Minimizes Risk
All-inclusive resorts have strict guidelines and protocols in place that extend throughout their entire properties. From the beach and pool to the bar and dining areas, consistent standards and procedures have been established across-the-board. Additionally, many of these properties have hired third-party safety companies to consult on how best to minimize risk and keep COVID-19 at bay. Most are taking extensive steps to ensure the safety and comfort of their guests. Some examples include requiring guests scan QR codes at restaurants and spas to avoid shared menus, offering conveniences like room service that is delivered outside a guests’ door, and signifying the sanitization of a guest room by sealing the door with a sticker.
“I sell all-inclusives because what they do [in terms of protocols] is in writing and I’ve witnessed it. My clients go by my expertise and they can tell when I’m confident,” said Hollie Schmitt, owner of Memory Making Travel based in Rubeicon, Wisconsin.
2. No Crowds, Social Distancing Enforced
Social distancing is much more achievable at all-inclusive resorts due to their vast size and layout. What’s more, some destinations, such as Mexico, are capping hotel occupancies, guaranteeing there is enough distance between your client and other guests. If that’s not enough, the rooming options at many all-inclusive properties also provide guests with the ability to stay isolated or venture out as much as they choose. For example, a plethora of suite categories can accommodate families in multi-level rooms with some providing access to private rooftop plunge pools and jacuzzis or even their own swim-up pools.
3. No Need to Venture Outside the Resort
When it comes to the sanitary practices of these properties, the due diligence has been done for your clients, alleviating the stress of anyone having to investigate on their own. Staying at an all-inclusive eliminates the need to go beyond its borders to local eateries as well as the concern over whether health standards in outlying areas are consistent with your expectations. Plus, in addition to dining, guests of all-inclusive resorts can stay on-property to enjoy water activities and off-shore excursions, without the need to board a bus and travel to an off-site location.
Travis Paquin is the owner of 417 Travel in Springfield, Missouri, an agency that attributes 78% of its business to the all-inclusive market. Paquin has traveled to Cancun twice since COVID-19 began, both times staying at all-inclusive hotels, and he is headed back again this month.
“Going off-property presents a challenge right now because everything is not fully operational,” said Paquin. “There are reduced hours for restaurants and entertainment is limited. You have more options at your fingertips at an all-inclusive than you do outside.”
In fact, Paquin noted that during his most recent trip, his party participated in small snorkeling trips right off the beach of his hotel. “We didn’t have to leave the property to travel to a dock and get a boat. It was so convenient and easy to do it from our location.”
4. Less Hassle, More Space & Flexibility
Some travel advisors we spoke with speculated as to whether the cruise market’s loss will be the all-inclusive market’s gain? Unlike ships that pass from port to port, each with their own set of rules and guidelines, a stay at an all-inclusive during the time of COVID-19 prevents much fewer challenges. In addition, many former cruisers will be looking to avoid the possible risk of, as one advisor put it, “being stuck in the middle of the ocean, with no place to dock.”
Also, whereas all passengers embark and disembark on the same day from a cruise ship, all-inclusive resorts offer staggered check-in and large open spaces to social distance from fellow arriving and departing guests.
“I think cruising is going to be slower to come back because of public perception. The all-inclusive product is where people will feel safer. You will see less people going off property (at least initially) to do shopping, dining and nightlife because they know they have everything they want in an all-inclusive experience,” said Jeff Leach, owner of Dream Vacations in Omaha, Nebraska.
5. Value Is Even Better Than Before
One agency owner in Houston who started his business in 1993 and relies heavily on the all-inclusive market, noted he sees more resorts and hotel chains shifting to these plans. As for COVID-19, he added that all-inclusive resorts make it “worry-free,” a huge advantage of all-inclusive stays that is accentuated even more in this time of COVID-19.
“There are so many different tiers of all-inclusives and they allow you to worry less, follow the protocols and treat yourself. Everything is included and you don’t have to plan where you are going to eat and how much you want to spend,” said Jay Islam, owner of Grand Travel and Cruise.
Islam also pointed out that he’s seeing more people traveling in groups to all-inclusive resorts and indulging a little more because the rates are good. Furthermore, by pre-budgeting, he adds that no one comes home surprised that they paid more than they intended, and when traveling with other couples, an all-inclusive eliminates the awkwardness that can sometimes occur when a chosen restaurant off-site might seem too pricey for some.
“All-inclusives allow you to indulge and in the way of social distancing, these resorts are built for it with their multiple pools and beach cabanas. They are going to benefit from this because they are more spread out [than other properties].”
With tons of choices for all-inclusive resorts around the globe and the confidence to know your clients will be well cared for, it’s no wonder travel advisors are shifting their business towards this stress-free option.
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Safety Check Before You Go!
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