Solve the problems of a destination wedding in one all-inclusive package: Travel Weekly
An all-inclusive resort can be a great location for a destination wedding, but problem-solving may be necessary in the planning process.
In a panel discussion at Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld conference on Thursday, travel agency owners Geoff Millar of Ultimate All-Inclusive Travel and Jesse Morris of We Book Travel discussed some tricky scenarios that can arise during a wedding reservation and asked the business managers of all inclusive resorts – April Dawn VanWagner, team leader in the US and head of business development for Club Med; Garth Laird, vice president of commercial sales for Unique Vacations; Heidi Verschaeve, vice president of sales, North America, for Sandos Hotels & Resort; and Andrea Wright, VP of Travel Industry Sales for Playa Hotels & Resorts – how they would treat them.
The destination wedding includes both adults and children.
Millar said you wanted to keep the adults from saying, ‘The kids kept me awake until 4 in the morning’ and the kids saying, ‘I’m bored.
Verschaeve of Sandos Hotels & Resorts said that 85% of weddings to Sandos have at least one child present. She said her solution to this problem in Playa del Carmen was to create an adults-only section at family complexes in 2012.
âAdults can spend their quiet time with their own facilities and entertainment,â she said. “But then they can also end up on the family side of the property.”
Wright of Playa said the Hyatt Ziva Cancun offers Turquize, an adults-only retreat in a resort for all ages.
Another option, Wright said, is to have a wedding at a family-friendly resort adjacent to an adults-only resort, a common setup in the Caribbean and Mexico. âWe can offer this in many destinations,â she said.
Wedding guests want to keep partying, but reveling in all-inclusive packages often stops at 10 p.m.
âDo they have to end the party at 10 or 11 pm? Not necessarily,â Verschaeve said. She said she speaks from experience, as she got married at the Sandos Caracol in Playa del Carmen, where the day started with a Mayan ceremony, moved to the rooftop terrace and took to ended in the disco, where the party lasted until 6 a.m.
âIt’s an option without disturbing other guests who want to sleep,â she said, adding that the Sandos Cancun has a soundproof ballroom.
The bride asks the travel counselor about the wedding, and that is outside the counselor’s area of ââexpertise.
Morris called this “the greatest area of ââheartache and pain for me when asked about how marriages should work.”
Laird of Unique Vacations, the sales representative for Sandals and Beaches resorts, noted that planning the wedding can be very stressful for the bride.
The solution? “You entrust us with this client directly so that we can answer every question,” he told the advisers. “You still benefit from the reservation and all the commissions and structures that go with it, but we have chosen you as an intermediary. We try to make the execution as transparent as humanly possible.”
Wright of Playa assured the public that once rooms have been booked and dates set, the bride is “immediately handed over” to the resort’s wedding team. She added that Playa pays a commission on “extras” purchased directly with the resort.