Designing All-Inclusive Hotels


All-inclusive hotels have gained popularity among travelers as they seek destinations that give them convenience, relaxation, and memorable experiences all in one place. In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into the key operational differences between these two hotel models and speak to the unique elements we consider when designing all-inclusive hotels to stand out in the hospitality industry.

Did you know that all-inclusive and European plan hotels have contrasting objectives? European plan hotels aim to maximize guest spending, charging for each service, whereas, in contrast, all-inclusive resorts strive to minimize guest expenses by bundling services. When it comes to an all-inclusive resort, many things that are often an add-on, like meals, events, etc., are covered, while it's the opposite mindset in European plan hotels, where spending means profit.

Along with differing objectives comes differing guest mentalities. Guest behavior significantly varies between these two hotel types as all-inclusive guests often stay for 5-7 days, while European plan hotels cater to shorter stays, such as weekends or single days. This fundamental difference plays a pivotal role in our design choices. 

Getting Creative:

All-inclusive resorts thrive on creative monetization strategies that can help guests access different tiers of luxury and relaxation on vacation. While basic minibar offerings are complimentary, enticing premium options are often available for purchase. Spa services, typically excluded, transform into luxurious havens within these resorts. Premium beach cabanas become coveted, especially as beach lounges come included. The aim is to create an environment where guests willingly invest more, given their perception that they have already prepaid for most amenities.

At the McBride Company, designing all-inclusive resorts transcends mere aesthetics; it involves a deep understanding of guest demographics and a commitment to crafting unique experiences. Different types of travelers, including families, millennials, and baby boomers, each have preferences, travel styles, and foundational needs. Suppose hotels effectively tailor the experience to all parties; in that case, they can boost repeat visitation, gain higher ratings, and have more people out in the world sharing their experiences.

"If you try designing for some nebulous person, it will feel like nothing to everybody."

Designing for Extended Stays:

The guest experience in all-inclusive resorts is multifaceted. Food quality is pivotal in guest satisfaction, setting resorts apart and satisfying different palates. From amenities to activities, every placement and offering is a strategic decision. For example, the design of pool areas is thoughtfully planned to ensure ample space for relaxation and recreation. 

For example, the design of pool areas is thoughtfully planned to ensure ample space for relaxation and recreation.

At many all-inclusive resorts, the demand for pool space often exceeds the available capacity, leading to overcrowding and dissatisfied guests. To ensure a seamless experience, as designers, we consider several aspects: the placement of the pools, their accessibility, how guests move about when not in the pool area, etc. Additionally, proximity to bars is a crucial factor; guests should be able to enjoy refreshments conveniently. Every detail matters in creating an environment where guests can relax and unwind effortlessly.

Evolving Consumer Trends:

We recognize the importance of staying attuned to evolving consumer trends. Visiting a classic all-inclusive resort and remaining secluded without experiencing local culture no longer aligns entirely with modern travelers' preferences. While there's still a place for those seeking pure relaxation, the trend leans toward a desire for a more immersive experience. Our focus is on finding innovative ways to create a sense of connection to the local culture, even for those who choose not to leave the resort. 

It's less about the physical act of departing the resort's boundaries and more about fostering the perception of cultural immersion through thoughtful design and curated local events.

For instance, in Hawaii, many all-inclusive resorts now offer guests the option to rent a Jeep and explore the island. This simple, curated excursion provides a sense of cultural immersion, offering travelers a taste of the local culture and landscape beyond the resort walls, all with a sense of ease and balance to their stay.

The Role of Branded Hospitality: 

In the competitive landscape of all-inclusive resorts, branded hospitality emerges as a beacon of trust and consistency. Names like Nickelodeon or Margaritaville bring trust and engagement. Aligning with such brand names means guests know what to expect: the familiarity of a cherished brand, an assurance that the experience will exceed expectations, and a level of standardized and exceptional experiences.

Designing all-inclusive resorts is not about reinventing the wheel but instead building upon proven frameworks. It requires a thorough and insightful understanding of operational intricacies, guest behavior patterns, and the power of branding. At the McBride Company, our designers draw inspiration from established brand playbooks to create environments seamlessly blending familiarity with uniqueness.

In conclusion, all-inclusive hotels offer more than a mere stay; they provide guests with a curated journey of memorable experiences. Whether seeking relaxation or adventure, we're proud to design all-inclusive hotels that meet your every need before you even know it's needed.