Among the most significant trends is the
increasingly diverse nature of the all-inclusive approach, with many going beyond
the typical room, meals and meeting space
package to include a wide range of immersive experiences. Driving the trend is the
growing presence of Millennial attendees,
according to Troy Hedenskog, group sales
manager for The Ranch at Rock Creek, an
upscale property in Philipsburg, Mont.
“With Millennials, we’re seeing a move
toward experiential retreats—they’re not
content to just sit on the beach,” he said.
“They are stimulated by individual chal-
lenges like learning to fly-fish or helping
others through a ropes course. One client
asked us for a community service project
that involved cleaning up the creek area for
Also noting the trend is Sherrie Fitzger-
ald, director of sales and marketing for the
Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort in Solvang,
Calif., an all-inclusive property that does
a lot of group business with financial
investment firms, where the average age of
attendees is between 25 and 35.
“Teambuilding, which is big with young
groups, is really coming back in popularity,” she said. “These groups also want creative and healthy food. You have to be open
and flexible about what they want.”
While all-inclusive packaging usually
means that all or most meals will be served
on-property, many resorts strive to keep
dining experiences varied and exciting for
groups. According to Edwards, perceptions
that all-inclusive means relegating groups to
“one big dining hall” are erroneous.
“It has evolved into truly superior food
and beverage service,” she said. “You will
find specialized food stations where chefs
personally prepare fresh fish or other items
to your specification.”
Andy Finn, vice president of sales for
Benchmark Hospitality, which has numer-
ous properties offering the CMP, agreed,
adding that chefs strive to provide experi-
ences equal to those the group would have
if going off-property to various restaurants.
“Culinarians really have to be creative
and different. What you don’t want is
someone on a package eating the same old,
same old for dinner every night,” he said.
“You serve the basics, but spice it up a bit,
especially at dinner and lunch.”
In another trend, all-inclusive packages are
growing ever-more flexible, even offering
the ability to bring in a la carte elements
that attendees pay for on their own, according to Edwards.
“There are cases where customers want
people to pay for their own rooms during
the meeting, and we can set this up,”
Edwards said. “In other cases, they may
want the attendees to pay for their rooms
during a pre- or post-meeting stay. We
can set up a registration link for addition-
al nights and people pay with their own
Fitzgerald added that all-inclusive pack-
ages at Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort are
“For instance, if a sponsor wants to do an
activity or event for the group, we can pull
that out and bill it to the sponsor,” she said.
“We listen to the group’s needs and we
don’t say no.”
MARIVAL RESIDENCES, NUEVO VALLARTA, MEXICO
ALISAL GUEST RANCH & RESORT, SOLVANG, CALIF.