All-inclusive resorts aren’t what they used to be. Laurent de Kousemaeker, chief development officer of Marriott for the Caribbean and Latin American Region, told Hotel News Now that all-inclusive resorts are no longer restricted by a certain price point or experience. “You can have a lifestyle experience,” he said. “You can have a very upscale experience, and you can have a luxury experience. You can have a lower-end experience.”
Whatever type of experience you’re looking to have, there are tips and tricks that can help you meet your budget. Here are 10 all-inclusive resort hacks to help you save big.
Check Your Hotel Loyalty Points
“All of the big hotel brands have recently started investing more into all-inclusive resorts, so if you have points with Marriott, Hilton or Hyatt, there are all-inclusive properties you can redeem your points at,” said Dan Bagby with Honeymoon Always.
For example, the Hilton Vallarta Riviera All-Inclusive Resort in Puerto Vallarta accepts Hilton Honors points and the Royalton Blue Waters Montego Bay, an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, accepts Marriot Bonvoy Points.
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Go With a Group
“A lot of resorts now will offer the sixth room free when booking five rooms,” said Jeff Lanno of Hola Weddings, a travel agency that sends thousands of guests from around the U.S. to all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean.
“Therefore, [there’s] no need for a very large group to get great kickbacks. This can be used by the tour leader to go for free, or the organizer can take the money they get back and share it amongst the group.”
Look for a Resort Opening
“Every year new resorts pop up and they often have great launch rates,” Lanno said. “Book early and you will get a stay at a brand new resort at a cost that defies logic. However, be ready, there can be a delayed opening and/or some of the amenities could not be ready.”
Join a Rewards Program
“A lot of chains now have rewards programs for their portfolio of resorts,” said Lanno. “The more you stay, the more you usually save.”
Book a Lower-Priced Room
“It doesn’t matter which room you get, everything is still all-inclusive,” Bagby said. “Stretch your budget by staying in a cheaper room.”
Watch Out for Expensive Add-Ons or Upgrades
“We were at an all-inclusive resort where they offered a romantic dinner at the beach,” said Bagby. “The food came from the same kitchen, but it cost $250.”
Take Advantage of Freebies
“There are lots of things you can get for free when staying at an all-inclusive resort — from towels at the poolside bar to umbrellas when it’s raining outside (and even some sun protection when it’s not),” said Jim Campbell, founder and CEO of Honeymoon Goals.
Don’t Hesitate To Negotiate
“If you’re booking directly with the resort, don’t be afraid to negotiate,” said Jane Jones of See Sight Tours. “Ask if they have any promotions or discounts available, or if they can offer you a better rate. You may be surprised at what you can save just by asking.”
Ask for Discounts and Upgrades in Person
Campbell also recommends asking for deals and discounts when you get to the resort. “When you arrive, go straight to the front desk and ask if they have any special deals or last-minute discounts available,” he said. “Sometimes they’ll offer you a free upgrade or even an extra day for free!”
Stay at a Nearby Hotel
“If the all-inclusive resort you’re interested in is too expensive, consider staying at a nearby hotel and purchasing a day pass to the resort,” said Jones. “This can give you access to the resort’s amenities for a fraction of the cost of staying on-site.”
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