Tour operators specializing in Mexico are reporting strong demand for all-inclusive resorts. Newer all-inclusives, particularly those at the high end, are drawing value-conscious vacationers, while older, European Plan competitors are having a tougher time, operators said.
“We continue to see trends toward all-inclusive product, even in destinations that have traditionally supported strong EP demand,” said Elizabeth Moriarty, vice president of product development for MLT Vacations. “Riviera Maya and Riviera Nayarit have really matured in providing 90-plus percent of their inventory in the all-inclusive segment but, in destinations like Los Cabos and Mazatlan, we are seeing big swings from traditional EP demand to new building or converted all-inclusive properties.”
Moriarty said the sluggish U.S. economy continues to be a “drag on demand, and the occupancy softness in Mexico has kept hotel pricing competitive.” She said bigger resort companies are seeing higher demand, while the smaller, independent hotels, particularly in the moderate price category, are having a tougher time. Meanwhile, she said high-end luxury business and destination weddings are showing strong growth for MLT.
At Funjet Vacations, high-end properties also are doing well. “There continues to be a strong demand for all-inclusive properties because the value of a luxury all-inclusive in Mexico is phenomenal.”
Jack Richards, president of Pleasant Holidays, also said demand for all-inclusives is strong in Mexico, while Pleasant has eliminated some EP hotels from its 2011 program due to lack of sales.
“All-inclusive resorts are top sellers as travelers want a fixed-budget vacation package with meals and drinks. All-inclusive, luxury resort sales are rebounding significantly faster than EP hotels and midrange, all-inclusive resorts, and we expect this trend to continue throughout 2011 as there is pent-up demand in this market segment.”
Mark Noennig, vice president and general manager of Apple Vacations, echoed the reports of his competitors: High-end, all-inclusive resorts are seeing the most demand. “It goes back to the importance of value for the consumer. These are resorts where all meals and drinks are included. We generally see more business going to our higher-end categories. The customer satisfaction there is very high.”