Resort fees, baggage-holding fees, housekeeping fees - paying for services that were once complimentary have become commonplace. Meeting professionals, desiring a more transparent pricing structure, are increasingly turning to all-inclusive properties to host their meetings and incentives.
Mexico and the Caribbean are renowned for their many four- and five-star, all-inclusive resorts. A typical package at an all-inclusive property includes accommodations, meals, drinks (both alcoholic and non), transfers, taxes, gratuities, day and nighttime activities, entertainment, lodging, tips, taxes, and the use, setup and breakdown of meeting rooms. Some even include experiential activities, off-the-beaten-path tours and adrenaline-pumping recreation for no extra charge.
All-inclusive resorts offer a stress-free option for meeting professionals; there are no menus to plan, activities to book, entertainers to hire or spouse events to budget. Extras can be built in, of course, but be sure to make clear in advance what the associated costs are prior to booking.
All-inclusives simplify meetings from a strategic and budgetary standpoint. The planner knows exactly what the program will cost going in. Attendees can get a snack, meal or drink without digging into their pocket. They will feel well taken care of - and isn't that what meetings and incentives should do?
Today's all-inclusive resorts offer first-class guest rooms and suites, gourmet dining, world-class spas and an array of land and water activities. Plus, many specifically cater to meetings and incentives with purpose-built, technologically advanced meeting spaces for groups of all types and sizes.
"Today, all-inclusives are always a serious consideration for our groups that desire a top-quality experience on a set budget," explains Michelle DeClerck, CMP, president of Conference Event Management, an event, conference, incentive travel and meeting experiences company. "Due to the various level of properties, room products and experiences, we can find an all-inclusive property to match our client's specific expectations."
Luxury services and VIP treatment are de rigueur at many of today's all-inclusive properties. "Our clients love that some of the all-inclusive properties even include recreational experiences as a part of the package. Evening entertainment is always included as well, which is a nice touch for those who don't want to call it quits after dessert," adds DeClerck.
Pilar Arizmendi-Stewart, VP of sales and marketing, The Americas, for Palladium Hotel Group, agrees. "Many meeting attendees staying at one of our newest all-inclusive properties, the TRS Coral Hotel in Costa Mujeres, Mexico, take advantage of CHIC Cabaret & Restaurant as a group activity. The Vegas-style performance and gourmet meal is an outrageously fun evening that enhances our guests' experience."