Choosing an All-Inclusive Hotel

Ok, we know you’ve all struggled with the decision whether or not to go all-inclusive. Is it worth it? Is it really all-inclusive? Maybe your drinks are included by your tennis lessons aren’t. So, here’s a quick guide to help you decide, courtesy of Smart Meetings.

Benefits of All-Inclusive

Location. All-inclusive venues are usually either located near gorgeous, exotic beaches or tucked away in private areas, like mountains. These places can afford to be all-inclusive because they are popular destinations, so it may be worth your money to choose a location that is nice to look at.

Great for budgeting. If everything is included, you can really stretch your dollars and take advantage of everything the hotel has to offer. Also, hosting private events on location becomes cheaper than it would cost for a noninclusive hotel.

Saves time. For someone who doesn’t have time to sit down and plan activities, meals, and events for a large group of people with varied interests, all-inclusives are a huge weight lifter for planners.

Relaxation. Without the stress of carrying wallets or finding transportation to off-site dinners, guests are able to relax a little more. Everything is obtained a little easier, so guests get a greater sense of satisfaction.

Networking. When groups stay in such close quarters, individuals are more inclined to network and meet one-on-one with coworkers to discuss ideas or even just to chat, creating a great group dynamic that lasts beyond the trip.

Green. Large all-inclusive hotels are often easier on the environment because they are more equipped to handle large groups and use their energy wisely.

Potential Drawbacks to All-Inclusive

Work may suffer. By sending employees to an exotic location, you may find it difficult to pry them away from the pool and free drinks to get any work done.

Stuck in one place. Part of staying at an all-inclusive hotel is having everything contained in one place. If your group is likely to want to venture outside of the hotel, you may want to make other plans.

Inability to customize. All-inclusive packages often don’t allow the switching of events or meal options because they are catering to the masses and have to satisfy large groups of people. Also, an all-inclusive package may come with benefits, such as nature walks or yoga classes, that your group may not be interested in, making the all-inclusive package appear wasteful.

Not enough time. On the other hand, let’s say you love every option included in the all-inclusive package. Between your scheduled activities and small bouts of free time, you may not have time to take advantage of every offering and may leave the hotel having paid for unused benefits.

The buffet. All-inclusive venues make meals for large groups on a daily basis, so the best way to do so is often by providing a buffet for guests. Based on your group’s preferences and prior experiences, they may not be used to buffet-style meals and may end up disliking the experience.

Other things to consider when deciding on an all-inclusive package

  • Do any of your guests have certain food allergies that aren’t supported by buffet-style meals?
  • Do any of your guests have specific mobility needs that a large all-inclusive resort cannot support?
  • Does your group like to be adventurous or will they enjoy spending time solely at the hotel?

To conclude, all-inclusive deals can be very handy for certain groups and a hassle for others. Most importantly, when planning a trip, you must consider your group specifically and whether the package will cater to their needs and wants. Then, decide if the all-inclusive hotel is worthwhile based on what is specifically being offered to you. All there’s left to do now is relax and enjoy your stay!

Did this list help YOU decide? Leave your feedback below!
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Your Next Meeting Destination – Sydney, Australia

If you had the chance to plan a meeting or event anywhere in the world, would Sydney, Australia be at the top of your list? If yes, good choice! If no, maybe it should be!

Sydney Skyline DaytimeSydney offers countless venues and entertainment options for meeting and corporate events of all sizes.

The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre is a prime location for meetings and events. Located in Darling Harbour, this exquisite venue is easily accessible by road, ferry, and monorail! Auditorium capacity in the Sydney Convention Centre is 3,500, with 20 meeting rooms that accommodate 20 to 600 people. Five exhibition halls of 54,000 square feet are located in the Exhibition Centre and have housed many important international meetings in recent years.

The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre

In addition to meeting venues, Sydney offers many attractions and entertainment options, most with a beautiful view of the harbour!

Darling Harbour has become a tourist attraction after recent renovations and now hosts 15 million visitors per year! Features wiCircular Quaythin Darling Harbour include the Star City Casino, the Cargo Bar on the water, and Malaya, an intimate restaurant that suits groups up to 300 people!

Spend some time at Circular Quay for dining, shopping, and nighttime entertainment. This area is known for it’s excitement and street performers, who can turn an ordinary day or night into a festival celebration!

Got a nice day to spare? A ride on the Manly Ferry is a great way to relax and explore the area! Get out onto the water with this 30-min ferry ride to Manly, Sydney’s “laid-back beach suburb.”

Manly Ferry Sydney

If green efforts are high on your list of priorities when searching for a meeting destination, you’ll feel at ease in Sydney. Sydney has come to be known as a “clean green city,” which is a big incentive for eco-friendly event planners looking for locations.

Ecowise Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre Green Credentials

The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, the city’s main meeting complex, boasts plenty of green features itself as well. Eco-friendly efforts are driven by Ecowise, a division of the staff members at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre who dedicate their time and energy to reducing their carbon footprint. Since it’s formation, Ecowise has made a significant impact on energy and water usage at the Convention Centre and has found a way to donate excess food through the organization OzHarvest.

Two 5 star hotel properties in the area include the Marriott Sydney Harbour and Amora Hotel Jamison, both located near popular attractions, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay.

Sydney Opera House Recognized by the events industry for its scenery, climate, venue options, and friendly locals, Sydney could be the perfect destination for your next meeting or incentive trip!

Historical Meeting Venues in the U.S.

U.S. historical sites double as great meeting spaces for private events! Don’t believe us? Any of these four famous United States locations could be the perfect place to host your next event. Read on to find out more!

New York Stock Exchange (New York City)






It’s difficult to picture the New York Stock Exchange without the chaos it sees by day, but after business hours, the Trading Floor is an open venue for receptions of up to 500 people! Other rooms up for grabs for smaller parties at this iconic location include the Main Dining Room and the Lounge & Card Room!

New York Public Library (New York City)





Another NYC gem, the New York Public Library makes a great meeting location with its 6,400-square-foot Celeste Bartos Forum and glass-dome ceiling. Dating from 1911, the New York Public Library is an official city landmark and could serve as a beautiful and meaningful venue for your next meeting!

Union Station (Washington, D.C.)





Since its recent restoration, Union Station now serves as a special events location, in addition to being an integral part of transportation in Washington, D.C.! The Main Hall, East Hall, and Columbus Club make great settings for private events, like receptions and seated dinners.

The Spanish Governor’s Palace (San Antonio)






You’ll be surprised you’re not in Spain when you visit this historic site in San Antonio, Texas! With architecture and décor dating back to the Spanish Colonial period and reception spaces galore, this location makes for a great and memorable meeting place.

My Experience as an Intern at A&M Meetings & Incentives

Interning at A&M has been a rewarding and enriching experience that has contributed to my knowledge of social media sites, travel destinations and the methods of improving worker relationships and inspiring workers. Through my work experience, I have learned about a multitude of destinations, ranging from exotic to family-friendly. These destinations, including South Africa and Indonesia, offer an assortment of activities bound to intrigue diverse groups of people.

Additionally, working at A&M has allowed me to understand how to improve an incentive trip. Planning an incentive trip is all about the activities that are available to the participants; specifically, every destination has something different to offer groups, which is why the choice of location is very important. One trend that I believe is successful is planning out-of-office experiences for employees. More and more, companies are looking to bring people outside of the conference room. This can be done by having employees volunteer within the community or by planning day trips. Another trend gaining popularity aims at engaging employees and incorporating outside input. Companies are using social media sites to get more people involved; companies are asking people to ask questions on twitter and are creating groups where information can be shared and discussed.

Before starting at A&M I did not know much about CSR; despite this, I have quickly learned how influential and how widespread the trend has become. Companies today are increasingly looking to become more responsible both socially and environmentally. “Going green” is another trend that I have learned more about during my time at A&M. Companies all over the world are looking to implement ecofriendly practices as a means of cutting down on production costs, attracting customers and improving the environment.

I have been rewarded with a lot of great opportunities at A&M and have truly gained a lot of knowledge about improving meetings, travel and current business trends.

– Olivia

T’was the Night Before…

T’was the night before the program
And all through the place;
The staff was busy working
At a furious pace.

There was AV to be checked
And carbon footprints to review,
CSR activities to look over,
Just so much to do.

As attendees arrived;
All became right.
The staff had worked hard,
All through the night.

With the reg. desk finally closed,
And the work room locked tight;
The attendees were checked in,
Snug in their rooms for the night.

The very next day,
Things were handled with care.
The group soon would be gone;
They would depart with much flair.

The program was a success;
We did all we could.
If we say so ourselves,
We’ve done pretty darn good.

One more thing to say,
As we turn out the light…
Happy Holidays to all,
And to all a good night!

To all our friends in the Meeting & Incentive Industry;
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year!