Executive Group Travel Blog

All-Inclusive vs. A La Carte Incentive Trips

[fa icon="clock-o"] Jun 16, 2015 9:30:00 AM [fa icon="user"] Marci McCormack [fa icon="folder-open'] Incentive Travel

All-Inclusive Right For You?:

There are some great benefits to booking an all-inclusive trip but also some drawbacks.  One major hurdle for companies deciding on an all-inclusive resort is the quality of food.  We recommend finding an all-inclusive option that has multiple restaurants on property and a range of different cuisines.  Do research the food quality in places such as Tripadvisor and also ask the hotel to provide recent incentive group contacts so you can reach out to them directly.  The quality and selection of food can make or break your trip and with incentive travel this is the biggest hurdle when finding the right all-inclusive option for your company.  A la carte hotels are a great solution but dinner per plate charges can quickly blow a budget for nightly company dinner events. 


Three Factors:

There are three main factors outside of food to look at when deciding is an all-inclusive resort is the right option for your company.  We ranked these three factors based on importance as budget is usually the driving force behind choosing an all-inclusive resort. 

1. Budget - Many people have the misconception that all-inclusives are cheaper for a company.  That is not usually the case but instead the nightly rate can be almost double.  The big difference is that the cost for attendees is decreased significantly, we call this attendee budget.  At the end of the trip, there are no surprises of hefty bar bills or expensive breakfast buffets.  By choosing an all-inclusive you can manage the company budget much closer than an a la carte hotel.  You can also lower the cost of welcome parties, final dinners and extra activities by choosing the right all-inclusive.  In the end the cost of an all-inclusive and a la carte hotel will be similar overall but the company is getting much more for their money and also the attendees can enjoy their trip at no additional cost to them. 

2. Planning - All-Inclusives in general are easier to organize for a large group.  This is because most of the events are hosted on property and a majority of all-inclusives have many activities to keep their guests busy each day.  You can host daily happy hours and morning brunch with a few quick emails to the hotel. 

3. Location - One major advantage of a la carte hotels is the flexibility in location and availability.  Certain locations are extremely limited with all-inclusives and this could force alternate location selections.  Also some locations are known for their culinary excellence so an all-inclusive hotel is not the best option for that destination.

Here are a few great all-inclusives for group travel:
  • Beaches - Turks and Caicos
  • Hard Rock Hotel - Cancun
  • The Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana - Dominican Republic
  • Sandals Grand St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort - St. Lucia


All-Inclusives are a great option depending on what is important to your company and the goal of the trip.  We recommend for younger technology companies to mix in an all-inclusive trip at least every three years.  Leading up to the trip you might find less excitement but following the trip the reviews always end up positive.  The key is focusing on promoting the trip with contests for suite upgrades, extra activities and unique experiences.  Not many people can say they had the chance to stay at the Bret Michaels penthouse suite so get creative and your sales reps will not be disappointed.  (http://blog.hrhrivieramaya.com/blog/2014/10/15/hard-rock-hotel-riviera-maya-unveils-bret-michaels-rock-star-suite/)

We have found with all-inclusive resorts you can push the hotels to be creative in what they offer you!  So don't be afraid to negotiate hard and make sure the food quality and offerings compete with an a la carte hotel. 


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