Redefining Added Value
All-inclusive properties have officially joined the experiential meetings bandwagon, thanks to increased demand from attendees.
Now, individual all-inclusive properties throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America provide activities, F&B and decor that reflect the destinations in which they reside. Several all-inclusive hotel companies are also taking it a step further as they undergo complete rebrands and create new group packages in an effort to provide the customization that meeting planners are seeking.
“Meeting planners demand a more customized approach when it comes to all-inclusive resorts, and we provide that with our ‘Perfect Planner Program’ (PPP) featured with Fiesta Americana Grand Meetings Mexico, which allows meeting planners and groups to customize their events through a variety of concessions, amenities and add-ons—all at the very affordable all-inclusive price structure,” says David Maznella, senior VP of sales and marketing for Fiesta Americana Hotels & Resorts. “Every request from the group is considered, and we provide options, which are essential to the success of each and every program.”
In other words, the all-inclusive concept is redefining added value by quickly changing its long-time reputation as a budget-friendly option into one that incorporates experiential value as well.
Grupo Posadas was one of the initial companies to completely embrace the all-inclusive shift by rebranding its Fiesta Americana Resort Collection into La Coleccion Resorts by Fiesta Americana late last year. The rebrand allowed the company’s four signature resort brands—Live Aqua, Grand Fiesta Americana, Fiesta Americana and Explorean—to each have a single identity in an effort to bring local culture into the properties.
“’Not all all-inclusive resorts are created equally’ is a basic mantra that truly emulates our La Coleccion Resorts especially because our properties have genuinely evolved over the past five years by focusing on creating daily memorable events and experiences, not simply another hotel and another event,” explains Maznella. “An important component on the evolution of all-inclusive resorts is quality and authentic experiences, elements we have focused on from day one and continuously improve. Each La Coleccion resort is unique in itself and provides a completely different experience from the other collection properties, which makes it attractive as there is a resort for every type of traveler.”
Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun, for instance, is setting itself apart for groups with the April launch of its “Grand Club Unlimited Experience.” The new pricing option goes beyond the typical limitless meals and beverages to include enriching experiences for attendees to choose from, such as sunrise yoga, unlimited hydrotherapy spa treatments and VIP butler service, as well as access to the penthouse Grand Club Lounge and a private beach club area.
AMResorts was busy opening adults-only properties throughout last year that specifically cater to the luxury all-inclusive market. The opening of the 150-room Breathless Montego Bay Resort in Jamaica, kicked-off the year, with the 526-suite Breathless Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa and nearby 502-suite Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort as well as the 457-suite Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic following suit through to the year’s end. These four new hotels, however, are just the beginning of a much greater plan from Apple Leisure Group, the parent company of AMResorts, which signed 10 new resort deals and plans to sign its 100th resort by 2020.
To help groups truly take advantage of the new properties, AMResorts Meeting & Incentives launched the “AMResorts Diamond Advantages” program this year, offering concessions based on the group’s revenue level. Value-added amenities include a private group check-in with branded event signage, a complimentary massage chair station or complimentary bar station. AMResorts’ Zoetry Wellness & Spa Resorts brand is even offering complimentary group yoga sessions and an organic detox juice bar for yogi groups.
Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts
Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts is bringing value to groups in the form of innovative F&B. The opening of Mashua Nikkei, a Japanese and Peruvian fusion restaurant, at Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Green in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Grand Bahia Principe Coba in Riviera Maya, Mexico, has helped the brand cater to attendees with particularly refined palettes. The combination of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines brings out a wide range of dishes such as tuna and quinoa tartare, crispy plantain tempura and spicy Amarillo daikon. Even though the restaurant is currently located at both properties, the use of local Dominican and Mexican ingredients differentiate the two and bring a local element that groups can appreciate.
Catering more to the child in every attendee, the 512-room Luxury Bahia Principe Fantasia officially debuted late last year within the popular Bahia Principe Bavaro Resort complex in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Its key highlight is the three castles that house the Garden Circus restaurant, Kokoro and sushi bar, but meeting planners can also use them as the backdrop for an outdoor event setup.
Palladium Hotel Group
The Grand Palladium Riviera Resort & Spa, located in the hotel company’s Grand Palladium Resorts of the Riviera Maya complex, is undergoing a complete conversion into The Royal Suites (TRS) Yucatan Hotel. The renovation began in June and will require a majority of the hotel to be closed through to the end of the year. Once completed, the 444-room property will feature exclusive amenities, including swim-up pools for 108 of the rooms and an adults-only Beach Club. Of the four new restaurant concepts being created will be a cabaret-themed dinner theater show—ideal for groups looking for some post-meeting entertainment.
This year, the hotel group also announced the opening of a new development in the northeast part of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula scheduled for 2018. It will include two new properties—the family-friendly, 673-room Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa and the adults-only, 473-room TRS Coral Hotel—in addition to a “Village” that will feature several restaurants, bars and an amphitheater. Groups will be especially interested in the TRS Coral Hotel’s away-from-it-all feel that includes four, international a la carte restaurants in addition to the nine available at the sister property.
Melia Hotels International
The Paradisus by Melia brand is attracting groups this year with new venues and meeting enhancements. Paradisus Los Cabos opened a new convention center this summer, featuring auditorium-style seating for up to 1,100 attendees. Groups can also partake in the property’s tequila tastings and tango lessons that add cultural value to the meeting.
Located on the opposite coast, Paradisus Cancun takes up its interactive offerings a notch with aerial dance and AquaForza classes, a workout class that combines aerobics, Pilates and yoga completed using an Aqua-mat that floats atop the pool water. The aerial dance trend takes attendees literally to new heights via a harness attached to the ceiling that allows dancers to move up and down throughout the space.
Hard Rock International
When the 600-room Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos debuts next year, it will be one of the first to offer the hotel company’s new Rock Star Suites. As part of a partnership with Sony Music Entertainment, the new hotel suites will feature life-sized content, mixed media and memorabilia from iconic artists. The partnership will allow Hard Rock to strengthen its music strategy by bringing one-of-a-kind music, design and technology experiences to attendees, according to Dale Hipsh, senior VP of hotels for Hard Rock International.
In early 2019, Hard Rock will also open the 294-room Hard Rock Hotel Papagayo Costa Rica—the hotel company’s first foray into the country. With this latest resort, groups can expect a wide variety of the country’s eco-adventure excursions as well as typical Hard Rock amenities such as the Rock Royalty Level that includes VIP services such as personal assistants, preferred room locations and one-of-a-kind music perks.