The biggest brands in the global hotel industry, such as Marriott or Hyatt, adopt all-inclusive formulas, with luxury perks such as butler service, foreign language courses or even the provision of a yacht.
Like the fashion for flared jeans, travel trends often come back into fashion on a periodic basis, though not quite in the same way as before. All-inclusive hotels and resorts are enjoying a huge resurgence in popularity right now, without the mediocre buffets, low-cost pina coladas, and cheesy entertainment of decades past.
This new wave of all-inclusive resorts is moving towards luxury, offering a range of perks from a-la-carte dining to butler service to upscale experiences unique to their location. It should be noted that many of these establishments are launched by luxury hotel brands that are entering an all-inclusive program for the first time.
This is due to the shift in consumer mentality post-pandemic, driven by extremely high travel demand and overwhelming decision-making fatigue. “People don’t want surprises about what’s included,” he says. Brian KingPresident, Marriott International, Caribbean and Latin America. “They just want to go and discover and have fun, and they really want to pay once and be done with it. While inclusiveness isn’t a new part, I think the trends have changed dramatically.”
In decades past, many all-inclusive resorts were fly traps designed to keep guests on site. In 2023, says Brian King, guests “want to step outside the hotel door” and are looking for a semi-concierge service focused on tailored and tailored experiences. These vacationers want great options, but they never want to feel crowded.
Brian King calls this formula “E squared,” as in “Entertainment x Education.” At the Westin in Costa Rica, for example, guests can play golf on a course he designed Robert Trent Jones IIDiscover the fauna and flora of the national parks during a mountain bike trip or in a canopy. Spanish lessons, cooking demonstrations, cocktail tastings, tai chi and yoga classes are also offered. “We design events that should be both entertaining and educational,” says Brian King. When you get “E squared,” you’ve won over the consumer.
Last year, Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain, recorded a turnover of $21 billionalso 50% increase compared to 2021. During the earnings conference call, Marriott’s CEO, Anthony CapuanoThe all-inclusive resort segment is often cited as a key growth area for the company, with many of Marriott’s luxury brands entering the all-inclusive resort space. “We’re working on our first all-inclusive contract with The Ritz-Carlton. We’re very excited about that,” says Brian King, pointing to the success of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht, of which a luxury ship was launched in 2021 and a second in 2024.
“We’re also putting the W in the all-inclusive space, and it’s going to be an adults-only playground,” says Brian King of the first all-inclusive W hotel. It is expected to open in 2025 in the Dominican Republic 349 rooms and suites11 restaurants and bars, three pools and a spa. “We also have the Westin, which we opened last year in Brazil, which has been very successful as an all-inclusive, family-friendly hotel.”
It would be easy to attribute Marriott’s success in all-inclusive accommodations to a brilliant post-pandemic hub. However, the planning actually began long before the coronavirus hit, when company executives realized its entertainment business was growing faster than other segments. As part of Marriott’s merger with Starwood Hotels in 2016, the company inherited what was then the Westin’s only all-inclusive resort, the Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal in Costa Rica. The complex then became a laboratory for Marriott, which managed to perfect its skills in terms of all-inclusive offerings. When new hotels open, Marriott is fortunate to be able to take advantage of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program, which has a surprising number of 177 million members.
According to travel advisors, it is impossible to ignore such a significant development in the sector. “In three years, Marriott has grown from an all-inclusive resort to 30, and more are on the way.” Corey Hakobyan, Senior Vice President, Sales & Partnerships for Virtuoso, the world’s largest luxury travel network. He adds that French hotel giant Accor plans to quadruple the number of all-inclusive Rixos establishments in its hotel portfolio.
Hardly a month goes by without the luxury giant partnering with an all-inclusive resort brand. Late last year, InterContinental Hotels announced a long-term agreement with Spain’s Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, which allowed the InterContinental Hotels Group to merge some of them. 70 all-inclusive hotels. Hilton now operates dozens of all-inclusive hotels, including the Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya at 735 roomsthe company’s largest resort in the Caribbean.
Finally, Hyatt, which acquired Apple Leisure Group for $27 billion dollars In 2021, it becomes the world’s largest operator of luxury all-inclusive hotels, now divided across nine brands and More than 120 resorts In 40 coastal destinations and 11 countries.
By the end of 2023, it will have Hyatt’s comprehensive group More than 45 resorts Only in Mexico. Upcoming openings in Mexico include intimate, adults-only venues like Secrets Tulum Resort & Beach Club, as well as the family-friendly Dreams Estrella Del Mar Mazatlan Resort, which features a water park, lazy river, multiple pools, and 350 suites Each offers a view of the Pacific Ocean.
“Expanding our all-inclusive brand is at the heart of Hyatt’s commitment to delivering new luxury travel experiences,” he said. Erica Doen, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Company’s Overall Portfolio. “We plan to open five all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean this year, as well as five more hotels in Bulgaria. The long-awaited launch of the luxury brand Dreams in Portugal, with Dreams Madeira Resort Spa & Marina set to open in early 2024, is also on the agenda. »
If Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America constitute “everyone’s breadbasket”, as Brian King puts it, Europe is not far behind. “And eventually I see an overall global expansion to include Asia as well. So it’s a global trend, no doubt about that.”
Erica Dwin sees all-inclusive resorts as a huge potential growth engine for Hyatt in Europe. With 46 European all-inclusive resorts in the Inclusive Collection, we currently offer resorts in Spain and Greece. Bulgaria and Portugal should follow suit soon.
Corey Hagopian believes that global economic conditions are also contributing to the rise of all-inclusive resorts. He notes that the 2008 recession also accelerated the appeal of wealthy travelers to the all-inclusive resort sector. “More high-end consumers are ready to try all-inclusive resorts,” he explains. “Today’s consumers have new priorities around connectivity, luxury, and authenticity. All-inclusive resorts must respond to these new priorities, moving beyond the original model that was more about comfort and budget.”
To be convinced of this, just look at Club Med, the pioneer of the all-inclusive concept in the 1950s, who has just announced an “almost new, updated, updated brand identity”, called Free spirit, which promises an outstanding experience for its customers. Club Med’s expansion includes the launch of its exclusive collection of five-star resorts, villas, chalets and even yachts, “taking luxury to the next level, from unique and masterfully prepared dishes to the most spacious and highly designed multi-bedroom suites.”
This change comes at just the right time, according to Kevin Armstrong, Club Med’s Senior Director of Brand and Communications for North America and the Caribbean. “Club Med is redefining the all-inclusive resort market by offering premium vacations and happiness because travelers are hungry for happiness right now.”
After all, unlike the fashion for flare jeans, happiness never runs out.
Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Susan Rowan Kelleher
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