Among independent travelers, all-inclusive vacations have a bad rep, one in which you trade quality for convenience. Many savvy consumers would rather do their own research, and a little more work, to secure each part of their trip as they wish.
But the all-inclusive model isn’t married to lower quality, according to the CEO of Apple Leisure Group, Alex Zozaya, who spoke at Skift Global Forum in September 2017. Apple Leisure Group targets luxury consumers who want the convenience of a packaged trip.
“We don’t call it all-inclusive. We call it ‘unlimited luxury,’” said Zozaya, who differentiates between all-inclusive luxury and traditional luxury. “We’re going for the top of the mass market. We’re not trying to go after the Aman Resorts, Abercrombie & Kent-type of customer.”
“It’s a wonderful value proposition. I think the world is going all-inclusive in many aspects,” said Zozaya. “When you buy a car now, it has a lot of the gadgets included. When you buy a computer, I remember we used to have to buy everything separate.”
Beyond focusing on luxury, Apple Leisure Group differentiates itself from other players by clearly separating its products. “In the all-inclusive space, a lot of the competitors that we have, they have one brand for the whole company,” said Zozaya. “Then they add ‘palace’ or ‘grand’ or ‘deluxe’ or things like that to make a distinction between luxury and not luxury. We don’t do that. We start from scratch with a completely different concept and value proposition with each of our brands.”
Zozaya conceded that all-inclusive doesn’t receive as much attention as other types of travel. That reduces competition and gives him more breathing room, but in today’s political climate, Zozaya has bigger, looming obstacles on his mind.
“Travel bans, travel warnings, increased visas, the whole rhetoric of isolation, that certainly hurts travel in general … I think that anything that we do that prevents people from traveling and moving around and getting to know people, it’s actually promoting ignorance.”
“Americans deserve better,” added Zozaya about President Trump — Apple Leisure Group cut ties with the Trump Organization and its hotels in 2015. “We had all these hurricanes one after the other, most recently Jose and Irma and Maria, and Donald. It’s just been a tough time lately.”
You can watch the entire interview above, or consider reading more coverage of Skift Global Forum.
At last year’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, travel leaders from around the world gathered for two days of inspiration, information, and conversation for panels such as this, as well as solo TED-like talks on the future of travel.
Visit our Skift Global Forum site for more details about 2018 events.