For decades, all-inclusive resorts were a bit of a polarizing proposition: some travelers adored the comfort and convenience, preferring to spend their vacations in all-inclusive sanctuary at the resort. Others felt like they wanted to explore the destination more, to get out of the hotel and see the island.
Of course, travelers have changed — and so have all-inclusive resorts; the last two years have shifted everyone’s priorities, and travelers of all vacation preferences are finding all-inclusives more more appealing than ever.
“With all the stresses of life, news, having a stress-free vacation has never been more important and all-inclusive vacation provides a little escape from the daily stresses of life,” said Andrey Zakharenko, founder of My World to Travel / Always Travel.
Following the lifting of nearly all travel restrictions that had been significant obstacles in 2021, good hotel performances were recorded in 2022, globally, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
“For a few of my clients, all-inclusive has been the only way to go for many years,” said Zakharenko. “After the pandemic, more are giving it a try. They select it because it’s easy, less stress for them. They pay once and then everyone gets to enjoy their vacation. No surprises at the end, no need to itemize the bill and figure out who owes what.”
“All- inclusive resorts are a top request for families, especially if you are on a budget,” said Jennifer Carr, an advisor with The Tropical Travelers. “They can pay one price and have all of their meals, beverages and entertainment included all up front. The amenities that are requested by families are a great pool area, waterparks, variety of restaurants, kids’ clubs and nightly entertainment.”
So, what Caribbean destination is thriving the most in the all-inclusive department?
“Jamaica remains the go-to destination for an all-inclusive resort, and we’ve seen a lot of demand among families for the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall,” said Lee Friedman, founder and advisor of Mango Tree Travel, an affiliate of Jetset World Travel.
Friedman also noted that Mexico shouldn’t be ignored as a top all-inclusive spot as well.
“The Finest Playa Mujeres in Mexico has an enormous following among families seeking an affordable all-inclusive stay,” said Friedman, “booking out months and months in advance, because it has family rooms that gives parents separation from their kids for a good night sleep.”
Carr also has her favorites in Mexico.
“Some hot all-inclusive resorts for families right now are the Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana and Dreams Macao Beach, both in the Dominican Republic, the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya and Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun in Mexico,” she said.
And the numbers prove that travelers aren’t just flooding to all-inclusive resorts, but are looking at all accommodations.
Global occupancy rates in 2022 increased from 43 percent in January to 57 percent in December, with rates topping 65 percent from June to October, according to STR. In fact, the Caribbean hotel sector demonstrated full recovery through positive results in the hotel indicators, according to the CTO.
“The ease of the all-inclusive will always be appealing to family travelers,” said Friedman. “Above all else, families want spacious rooms, childcare options, and lots of good food choices for kids.”
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