Large groups are sublime candidates for the all-inclusive destination. Just think of the luxurious accommodations, succulent meals, drinks, and unlimited entertainment activities -- all without the worry of overspending your budget or deciding who will cater meals! You don't even need to take your wallet with you -- all tips and gratuities are included! It can really make planning your group vacation or business retreat a breeze.
Vacation time is precious, and when no one has to be in the position of taking care of details, which always involves more work than others know, you have more time to relax. Your group can gather together at scheduled entertainment or activities and enjoy their time together. In short, all-inclusives allow everyone to relax and focus on your group's purpose for coming together in the first place.
All-inclusive destinations have become increasingly popular as busy people look for ease, convenience, and cost-management in arranging their vacations. Any ample group, be it a sports team, wedding party, family reunion, religious retreat, or group of friends, will find that an all-inclusive destination not only saves them money, but also frees them up to spend more time relaxing and enjoying their stay.
All-inclusives generally include your accommodations, transportation to and from the airport, all meals and snacks, non-alcoholic and sometimes alcoholic drinks, and on-site entertainment, activities, and amenities. Some also include golf on their own private courses. Be aware though that "all-inclusive" is used to define a varying range of inclusions, from everything you can imagine to just partial amenities in your up-front price. Make sure you read the fine print and ask questions about inclusions that are important for your group. All-inclusives generally save travelers money, sometimes up to 50 percent in the off-season. How much money you save generally depends on the level of inclusions. Full inclusions with all-you-can-eat meals and drinks often provide the greatest savings.
While many traditional resorts have group discounts, all-inclusives will give you a per person final cost before your trip, making bookkeeping for businesses and organizations easier and taking the worry out of whether or not guests will run over budget. It's a great way to tell your group members exactly what the trip will cost before they decide to go.
But perhaps the best reason to vacation all-inclusive is the almighty convenience factor. Planning a large group vacation can be more stressful than it's worth with having to make decisions about lodging, dining, group activities, and technical and audio-visual equipment. All-inclusives by nature take the hassle out of handling every detail; your key amenities are provided, and most resorts have business event planners who will take care of your group presentation and meeting needs.
Some argue that all-inclusives deter travelers from getting out and exploring the local community. Yet, with accommodations and activities taken care of up-front, groups can budget spending money for just that purpose. Souvenir shopping, exploring can't-miss area attractions, and planning for memorable excursions to nearby historic sites or natural wonders simply add to an already incredible vacation. Some group members may be concerned with not having the ability to customize their lodging to their taste, or being stuck with the cuisine and beverage choices of the resort. However, most all-inclusives offer a range of accommodation choices, though some do limit types available to large group bookings. Larger all-inclusives offer a wide array of cuisine so both the vegetarian and meat-lover in your group will be satisfied. And if hard-to-please individuals want to sample area dining instead, well, so be it!
Some Awesome All-inclusives
The famous Club Med, Sandals, SuperClubs, and Palace Resorts have taken all-inclusive to its premium with ultra-luxurious accommodations, cuisine, and activities. Most offer Caribbean or Mexican locations, and all welcome large groups and offer unique packages with customization. Some of the resorts are adult-only, so be sure to check out the styles, themes, and activities of each.
If you want to stay stateside, you will find fewer all-inclusive resorts (in fact they're pretty rare in the U.S.) but some traditional resorts are willing to arrange for all-inclusive options for group guests. Ask if they are willing to provide additional services for a set fee, or if they will negotiate a per-person rate that includes activities or meals. Each resort is different.
One specialty all-inclusive resort in the states is the Miraval Life in Balance Resort & Spa in Catalina, Arizona, not far from Tucson. Known for its relaxing spa programs and luxurious accommodations, Miraval caters to individuals but welcomes groups and corporate retreats. They offer meetings, workshops, and regular scheduled activities. Included in their price is transportation to and from the airport, accommodations, full resort amenities, three gourmet meals a day, unlimited snacks, evening hors d'oeuvres and non-alcoholic beverages. Guests also enjoy one spa service, round of golf, or private consultation per day (up to $110 value), and access to all of the resorts programs and activities.
The Caesars Pocono Resorts' Brookdale-on-the- Lake in the Pocono Mountains of northeast Pennsylvania offers groups an all-inclusive opportunity to save up to 50 percent and enjoy its full array of amenities. The resort can provide barbeques, cocktail receptions, sporting tournaments, luncheons, and custom indoor-outdoor activities. Their all-inclusive rates include daily breakfast in bed, fine dining, nightly entertainment, activities, and special events. Check with the resort before booking as some of the amenities are reserved for couples only.
All-inclusive destinations are an outstanding opportunity for large groups to gather. Your time preparing goes from can't eat, can't sleep, must plan to a few phone calls and then maybe a nap. An all-inclusive group vacation means everyone in the group, even the person coordinating the trip, can have a fancy-free time and still be rest assured they are truly getting their money's worth. Don't waste valuable vacation time worrying; let an all-inclusive worry for you!