Experts say there's room at the table for Wyndham's all-inclusives

Hospitality industry analysts and travel advisors working in the all-inclusive sphere took a more-the-merrier view of the Oct. 5 announcement introducing the Wyndham Alltra all-inclusive brand.

The brand, a partnership between Playa Hotels & Resorts and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, launches Dec. 1 with two properties on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Positioned as upper-midscale offerings, the properties, both conversions of Panama Jack resorts, will target guests new to the all-inclusive experience. 

Following Hyatt’s August acquisition of Apple Leisure Group and its collection of all-inclusives offered by its AMResorts division, Marriott has renewed its efforts in the sector, and Hilton is continuing its push to add all-inclusives in Mexico and the Caribbean. 

Hotel analysts say this increased activity will continue, and that Wyndham Alltra could differentiate itself by focusing on a less crowded price point.

“The more I think about it, the plan is kind of intriguing,” said Geoff Millar, co-owner of Arizona-based Ultimate All-Inclusive Travel. “Most brands entering the space are going after the higher-end customer. I think going for the middle and lower tiers is really interesting because no one is focused on them.” 

Daniel Lesser, CEO of LW Hospitality Advisors, said that while the all-inclusive concept has been around for decades, going back to Club Med, the global brand efforts are relatively new. 

“The all-inclusive space has been virgin turf for big brands, and for a couple of years you’ve seen Hyatt or Marriott and others making moves to enter that sector,” he said. “When the big kahunas do it, others will follow, and I would include Wyndham along with the big ones. It didn’t surprise me that they would make this deal.”

Plenty of room in the pool

For the moment, there appears to be little worry that the sector is in danger of becoming oversaturated.

Mark Lunt, president of Lunt Advisors, said it was more likely that newer all-inclusive resorts that cater to the latest traveler trends and embrace more experiences outside the property walls will replace the all-inclusives still stuck in a “fortress” mentality of keeping guests inside. 

“I think there is a lot of FOMO in the market right now,” Lunt said. “The large chains have a fear of missing out, and when the big folks jump in, that sparks more movement.” 

That Wyndham Alltra is specifically focused on cost-conscious guests who have less experience with all-inclusive stays parallels expansion in another leisure travel sector.

“It’s something some of the cruise lines have been so successful at doing, like Carnival targeting customers who have never cruised before,” Lunt said. “I think going after people who have never stayed at an all-inclusive before is an on-point strategy right now.”

As the movement in the all-inclusive sector continues, Millar sees the new players and products as a boon for travel advisors. 

“So much is going on, it’s impossible for customers to keep up. They’re going to be confused,” he said.

“Knowledgeable agents who can sort through everything and help their clients have a big opportunity.”

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