All-inclusive resorts have had a downmarket reputation. Hospitality company Ennismore aspires to change that.
Ennismore on Monday launched a website to market its all-inclusive resorts, ALLinclusive-collection.com. The move represents something like a debutante’s coming out party. It’s a long-incubated effort by a leader to create and run premium all-inclusives at scale.
Ennismore’s all-inclusive resort collection has 38 properties under the Rixos, SO/, and Swissôtel brands. The company plans to grow the portfolio to 50 resorts in the next three years, partly by adding all-inclusive resorts under additional brands, such as Hyde, Mondrian, SLS, and Fairmont. It plans to have about 100 resorts by 2027.
“We’ll deploy different brands depending on the need of the market and region,” said Gaurav Bhushan, co-CEO of Ennismore and CEO of its lifestyle and entertainment brands. “We’ll use some of our lifestyle brands for adults-only all-inclusive resorts — which we’ll start opening next year.”
Ennismore believes it can stand out in a segment dominated by typically generic offerings.
“All-inclusive has had a questionable reputation for years as a kind of a mass market, volume-driven product,” Bhushan said. “What you will see when you look at some of our products is that we have completely evolved from that into something much more bespoke and experiential. You know, we’re not doing massive buffets every meal. The facilities and the entertainment are high-quality.”
Ennismore’s bet comes at a time of growing interest in the all-inclusive segment. Hyatt, in 2021, spent $2.7 billion on Apple Leisure Group for its all-inclusive resorts. Last year, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) began marketing about 70 of Iberostar Hotels & Resorts‘s all-inclusives as one of its brands in its loyalty program through a licensing deal. This year, Marriott said it would debut its first branded all-inclusive, “Marriott Cancun, An All-Inclusive Resort,” and it launched a site marketing all its all-inclusive resorts across brands.
Pushing All-Inclusives Upmarket
One of the pioneers of trying to move all-inclusive resorts upmarket was Rixos, a luxury brand created by Fettah Tamince in 2000. Tamince’s formula was to provide a bundle of services for one price without needing high volumes of customers per resort to make the economics work.
In 2016, Bhushan led an investment in Rixos on behalf of Accor, creating a joint venture. Last year, Accor effectively sold its all-inclusive stake to Ennismore.
Focusing on memorable experiences is a key for Ennismore, the executive said.
“Our approach to kids’ facilities, for example, is much better than what’s typical” Bhushan said. “I wouldn’t call them kids’ clubs because we have resorts where the children’s facilities are in excess of 2,000 or 3,000 square meters.”
When it comes to food, Ennismore’s in-house food-and-beverage laboratory, Carte Blanched, will lead the design of the creation of restaurants and bars at the various properties.
The process of scaling up the all-inclusive resorts may appear to outsiders as complex.
“We have a dedicated global team headquartered out of Dubai, managing and developing the all-inclusive business across brands,” Bhushan said. “The development and the programming are led by the all-inclusive team, based on seven pillars of our experiential approach to wellness, entertainment, kids activities, food and beverage, and so on. They’ll collaborate with the teams at brands like Hyde and SLS on how to make sure that physical hardware and the brand standards and the voices of those brands are completely reflected in the products.”
Another challenge for Ennismore will be to create an impression of “plenty” that’s a core of the all-inclusive concept without creating waste. The trick will be to appeal to segments of consumers who are mindful of sustainability while also wanting luxury.
“The perception of all-inclusive is massive buffets of food everywhere, and we are very much getting away from that, such as with bespoke dining,” Bhushan said. “We have a big focus on food waste management and an objective of zero plastic use.”
Ennismore’s announcements have focused on Turkey, the Middle East, and Central Asia. But executives said they had larger ambitions.
“We have a couple of projects already committed under development in Vietnam,” Bhushan said. “In Asia broadly, the premium and luxury all-inclusive business is still very nascent. But over the next decade, the opportunity there is large.”
For more context, read Skift’s Why the Business of All-Inclusive Resorts Will Never Be the Same.
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Photo credit: The lobby at Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island, a luxury, All-inclusive resort on the Arabian Gulf in Abu Dhabi. Source: Ennismore.