Friday, 8 April 2011

First Choice go All-Inclusive only, but is paying upfront the "devil's work"?

Booking your holiday will get slightly easier next summer when First Choice starts selling nothing but all-inclusive packages.

That’s flights, transfers, accommodation, three meals per day and your fill of local drinks for a one-off fee.

First Choice will be the only mainstream travel company dedicated to the all-inclusive, which they claim knocks about £500 off a family’s total holiday spend.

Whether the saving rings true or not, the move simplifies things for holidaymakers and travel agents – First Choice will be first choice for value for money all-in holidays.

Their Summer 2012 brochure will sell all-inclusive packages to 33 destinations, in three bands of affordability: silver for premium properties; orange for great value village-style resorts and jade for standard.

Well over half of First Choice holidays are already all-inclusive and demand for them has been on the rise for the last five years.

First Choice said: “All-inclusive holidays enable people to enjoy the best of both worlds – a unique feeling of indulgence combined with practical control over their holiday spending.”

When asked how hoteliers who don’t already offer all-inclusive felt about the move they said: “Those that don’t are particularly excited at the prospect.
“We will be working closely with them and offering them all the support they need to convert.

“A small number of properties will not be able to convert and where possible these will continue to be offered under other TUI brands such as Thomson and Skytours.”

Simon Calder, travel editor for The Independent, told the BBC that: "All-inclusives are the devil's work.

“They dampen the appetite to explore – because as soon as you step beyond the walls the meter starts running and you're incurring extra costs. Therefore you're not getting the range of experiences you would find if you simply used the hotel for sleeping in, and explored the options in the area."

Obviously all-inclusive holidays aren’t for everyone. Discovering the fantastic shops, bars and restaurants that line local piazzas, high streets and harbours is a major reason many of us go away at all.

However, all-inclusives can offer the most relaxing weeks of your life.

There's no need to penny pinch, and cool drinks, snacks and meals are, at most, a flip-flopped wander away from the poolside. That’s why frazzled families, honeymooners and workaholics snap them up in droves.

The change at First Choice might be a sign that the all-inclusive is gobbling up customers who used to while away their evenings in local tavernas. Time will tell.

It is, however, a sensible consolidation and re-branding exercise that puts the all-inclusive eggs of parent company Thomson in one well-established basket.

Are all-inclusive deals the devil’s work or the most sensible way to stay on budget as you relax?

Photo by rachelcoyne


rruussell said...

They might "dampen" people's appetite for exploration, but many who go on an all-inclusive holiday have already made the decision: I am going here for indulgence and relaxation.

People who want to explore will explore, no matter what.

Kelly Pipes said...

Couldn't agree with you more, and who are we to say what people should and shouldn't want from their precious time-off in the sun. I'll never forget the previous publishing director at a well-known tour operator saying in a meeting that all they wanted was a 'fly and flop' holiday ... I couldn't understand not wanting to explore, eat at local restaurants, get lost in a new city.
But over time, and feeling drained by the stresses of self-employment (violin), I totally get the indulgence and relaxation thing.
Getting out of the hotel compound at least once to spend some money locally, however, is always recommended...for everyone concerned.