The original story can be seen here: http://www.today.com/money/all-inclusive-rate-really-best-vacation-bargain-t82896
Our consultants were not pleased with this story. In general, they felt that Rossen was misrepresenting the value of an all-inclusive resort, and viewers are not getting the whole story.
Here is what a few of our all-inclusive specialists had to say on the subject:
Stephanie Turner, CTC, President & CEO:
There are definitely some valid points in this story, but it doesn’t really explain the real value of an all-inclusive. For someone who is really going to enjoy the experience to the fullest, they will get the most bang for their buck when they choose an all-inclusive. It is worth it for my family because the kids can try new things and we don’t have to worry about wasting money when they don’t like something.
If someone comes to us and says that they really aren’t big drinkers, and maybe they aren’t going to eat three big meals a day, we will certainly steer them away from an all-inclusive because it is not going to be a good value for them. However, for someone who will really take advantage of all the food, drinks, activities, etc., it will be a fabulous deal.
Stacey Acree, Vice President:
The biggest flaw in this story is that at a normal all-inclusive resort, a single buying an all-inclusive package means paying a single cost for a room that is meant for two people. Resorts expect two people in a room, so having a single in a double room is really not that much cheaper.
This resort is unique in that it is not an all-inclusive resort, but a regular resort with an optional all-inclusive upgrade. If it was a comparison of two couples at a true all-inclusive resort, one paying a flat rate and one paying as they go, there would be no competition. The pay-as-you-go couple would be paying double the price, while the other couple would be paying only a bit more than what she paid for one person.
For example, let’s look at the Iberostar La Romana. Included in your price are unlimited meals, snacks, premium domestic and international beverages, entertainment, live shows and non-motorized water sports. The following price comparisons are for three nights next month:
Single Occupancy Rate: $564.90
Double Occupancy Rate: $907.20
With the double rate, each person is only paying $453.60 total, saving over $100.
If you have an individual using an all-inclusive it will cost more, because while the hotel could have two paying customers in that room, they instead will only have one. As a result, a single occupancy at an all-inclusive is more expensive on a per-person basis to make up for the difference. This applies to cruise lines as well who charge a higher rate for single occupancy in a cabin.
Cathy Robinson, CTC, Group Travel Coordinator:
The most important thing to remember about an all-inclusive vacation is the value - what all you are getting for your money. Most of the time, your flat rate includes your transfers to and from the airport, all your resort gratuities (no need to tip waitstaff, maids, bartenders, etc.), minibar and sometimes room service, most activities, specialty restaurants as well as buffets, and more.
People love this type of vacation because it is so easy to plan and budget. You have your entire trip paid in full before you step on the plane, and there will be no surprises on your bill when you check out.
I have clients who have gone to both all-inclusive and pay-as-you-go resorts, and most of the time they will prefer an all-inclusive experience.
Michelle Busse, Travel Consultant:
All-inclusive resorts have to come up with their pricing based on what they think the average person will eat and drink. If you are not one to eat and drink until you can’t move, then you might not technically get your money’s worth. If the woman in the report had truly eaten, drank, and done everything she wanted, she would have gotten more value for the same price.
If you choose to go on a pay-as-you-go vacation, you will be more likely to make more modest choices with your dining and pay more attention to the price tag, and at these resorts, the modest choices are still going to be very expensive.
I’ve had clients who have had the option of paying as they went, or paying a hefty upcharge to make their trip all-inclusive, and they will often pay the extra upfront. People don’t want to have to keep reaching in their pockets for their wallets or scour the menu prices everywhere they go. It makes your vacation so much more relaxing if you don’t have to worry about money for the length of your stay.