Written By: Geoff Millar, Owner – Ultimate All Inclusive Travel
My name is Geoff Millar and I am the owner of Ultimate All-Inclusive Resorts a large home-based agency that specializes in All Inclusive Resorts. We have specialized in them since 2003. I will be writing a monthly article on various topics, all dealing with All-Inclusive Resorts, destinations, best beaches, dining, resorts and resort chains, as well as tips on selling all inclusive resorts
Today we are going to start with defining all inclusive resorts, what is really included. We will also look at the differences between a low level, mid level and high end all inclusive resorts.
You will see 3 different types of all inclusive resorts advertised. Only one type is a true all inclusive resort. A true all inclusive resort will include accommodations, all meals and snacks (no exclusions), all drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, all resort activities, non-motorized water sports liked sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, and nightly entertainment. The three things that are not included in the price at an all inclusive resort, unless with some sort of promotion, will be Spa treatments, offsite tours, and motorized water-sports (This is because of insurance reasons). You don’t want the liability of someone who has been drinking all day jumping on a jet ski.
The second type of all inclusive resorts you will see advertised are what I call inclusive resorts. You will see these a lot when a resort or a resort chain that is not all inclusive tries to jump on the all inclusive bandwagon. What it really means is that there are some exclusions in their all inclusive plans. A good example is all meals are included but if the client wants steak or lobster there will be a surcharge or all meals are included but only in certain restaurants. Another example is, they have a kids club but there is a surcharge for your clients children to attend. These you have to be careful with, when researching, because the fact that they have surcharges or exclusions may not be immediately evident in their advertising.
The third type of all inclusive advertising you will see are really resorts with some sort of meal plan. What it means is they will provide meals either 3 meals a day or some only breakfast and they charge for everything else. There are a few that will provide beer and wine with lunch and dinner but charge for other alcoholic drinks and everything else at the resort. There are a number of resorts, especially in the U.S. that advertise themselves as all inclusive but are really rsorts with a meal plan. There really are, by definition, no true all inclusive resorts in the U.S.
Just make sure you understand your clients requirements and understanding if the resorts you are recommending are, true all inclusive resorts, inclusive resorts, or resorts with a meal plan.
Let’s look at the different levels of all inclusive resorts. There are everything from 1 star to 5 star all inclusive resorts. We will divide them into 3 levels, 1 & 2 star lower level resorts, 3 star mid-level resorts, and 4 & 5 star high-end resorts. Frankly the big differences will not necessarily be in just the facility itself but will show more in the quality and number of amenities and in the level of service your clients receive. The lower the level the more basic the room, the lower the resort level the fewer dining options the client will have and, in most cases, the quality of food will be reflected in the level of the resort. Low level and mid-level resorts will not have things like 24 hr room service, will serve alcoholic drinks but they will not be top shelf or named brands, will usually have a reservation policy for specialty restaurants, some going as far as restricting the number of nights a client may eat at a specialty restaurant during their stay. You will find top-shelf or name brand alcohol, unlimited dining in the specialty restaurants, no reservations required, and 24 hour room service at the higher end resorts. They may all have non-motorized water sports but the level of the resort will be reflected in the amount of equipment the resort has. A high end resort may have 10 Hobie-cat sail boats while a lower-end resort may only have 2. All resorts at each level can be sold, it is just a matter on understanding your clients requirements, understanding the resorts you will recommend and setting the correct expectations. We will get into what major resorts offer and do not offer when we begin the discussion about various resorts and resort chains.
One more point is that all inclusive can mean 2 different things. If a client asks for an all inclusive package it could mean a package with an all inclusive resort or it can mean a package that includes hotel, air, and transfers. There is a subtle but very large difference. Next month we will begin looking at and discussing the major locations for all inclusive resorts.
Stay tuned and Happy Selling.