“The people who liked piecing trips together and exploring the unknown are approaching travel a little less adventurously,” said Melissa Wu, the owner of Woodlyn Travel, a travel agency in Pasadena, Calif. “Covid numbers are unpredictable; countries keep changing their entry requirements. And people are just tired: They’re worried about their health, their kids, their work; they’re burned out from the juggling.”
It’s no surprise, then, that all-inclusives are booming. September and October bookings at Sandals Resorts, which has 15 all-inclusives in the Caribbean, are up 151 percent compared to 2019. Club Med, a pioneering all-inclusive brand that has 70 resorts worldwide and is planning to debut in Canada, in the Le Massif ski area of Quebec, in December, has reported record sales this year, with several weeks this summer showing double-digit growth in bookings over 2019.
Even the uninitiated are tuning in: In the last six months, more than 80 percent of total bookings at Club Med Sandpiper Bay, in Port St. Lucie, Fla., have been made by first-time guests, who have also accounted for more than 70 percent of bookings at Club Med’s Mexico and Caribbean resorts.
“We know that many of these guests decided to book an all-inclusive vacation with us in order to avoid the hassle of coordinating a do-it-yourself vacation, especially after such a challenging year,” said Carolyne Doyon, the president and chief executive of Club Med North America and the Caribbean.
Mary Johnson, 42, has taken her children, 8 and 10, to European capitals, Caribbean beaches and on cruises in equal measure. In August, she and her family headed to Sandpiper Bay because it checked her three major criteria: all-inclusive, in the United States and chock-full of kid-friendly activities, like talent shows, trapeze lessons and outdoor movies.