Include Me

Several tour operators allow clients to pocket credit cards and enjoy the ride


By: By Joanna Pawlowska


Classic Vacations

Pleasant Holidays

Travel Impressions

Clients don’t have to stress over the details when booking with an all-inclusive tour operator.  // (c) Mexico Tourism Bureau
Clients don’t have to stress over the details when booking with an all-inclusive tour operator.

In a bear market, the one thing that appears to be steadily strengthening is the headache I get at the end of the workday, which is why it just might be the opportune time for me to partake in a little rest and relaxation — and apparently, I’m not alone.
According to Dr. Peter Yesawich, chairman of Ypartnership, Americans are not willing to give up their coveted vacation time over a few bumps in the economic road. Instead, they are adjusting the profile of their travel plans.

"The results corroborate what we have been preaching now for several months: American travelers are trading down, but not out," said Yesawich, referring to the most recent TIA Annual Travel Forecast.

However, the contemporary traveler is interested, now more than ever, in knowing a vacation’s cost up front. And the good news is that if clients plan their well-deserved Mexico vacation with an all-inclusive tour operator, they can escape the checklists and the hidden fees. By offering luxurious accommodations, fine dining, live entertainment and a wide array of activities and services for one, all-inclusive price, Mexico’s best tour operators are putting the rest and relaxation back into travel.

Travel Impressions — an Editor’s Pick in 2007 and 2008’s Travel AgeWest WAVE Awards — is sensitive to the needs of both clients and agents in the changing economic climate.

"The upcoming year will be a challenging one, making it even more critical to maintain a high level of customer service across the travel industry," said Sallie Rawlings, senior director of corporate communications for Travel Impressions. "Travel Impressions is known for its service excellence, and we will continue to focus on delighting our customers and helping them to better serve their travel clients."

The company is also aware of the appeal it has as an all-inclusive operator and is focusing on maximizing that allure to use as a selling tool.

"We are seeing strong interest in all-inclusive vacations, and we think this can be a valuable selling tool for agents. Their clients know what their vacation is going to cost up front and there is no worry about surprises once they get to the destination," said Rawlings. "Mexico, of course, is blessed with a wonderful selection of all-inclusive properties."

Some of the company’s top-selling, all-inclusive vacation packages for Mexico include El Dorado Royale, Excellence Riviera Cancun, Paradisus Riviera Cancun and Moon Palace, which generally provide numerous fine-dining options at various on-site restaurants; access to pools, Jacuzzis and fitness centers; a plethora of activities such as snorkeling, kayaking and yoga classes; and nightly, live entertainment. The varied profiles of these tour packages mirror the unique vacation needs for a diverse clientele, spanning from honeymooner packages at adults-only resorts to adventure getaways for the entire family.

"Travel Impressions is developing themed promotions to stimulate the interests of the various niche markets," said Rawlings. "Our promotions [in the upcoming year] will center around family packages, spa vacations, sports and adventure packages and romance promotions including destination weddings and honeymoons, among others."

But even with increased focus on customer satisfaction as the economy takes a hit, Travel Impressions has not forgotten about the key role that agents play in its business success.

"We are actively promoting booking bonuses from our suppliers that are combinable with Travel Impressions booking bonuses, so that agents can truly earn a significant amount more when booking a package with us," Rawlings added.

Other tour operators are also working hard to accommodate the current increase of interest in all-inclusive vacation packages to Mexico.

Classic Vacations’ all-inclusive packages span each side of the country, with destination locations that trace both of Mexico’s scenic coastlines. It offers packages like Cancun & The Riviera Maya, giving clients a taste of the turquoise Caribbean waters of Mexico’s east coast; and tours to Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta & Mazatlan; Ixtapa & Zihuatanejo; Acapulco & Huatulco and Manzanillo & Costa Alegre for those seeking to unwind on Mexico’s Pacific side. Classic also offers The Colonial Cities tour, which allows clients to explore some Mexico’s interior as well.

To make the lives of agents easier, Classic Vacations has a separate Web site — Classic for Agents — that is tailored specifically to travel professionals. In this way, the company can provide agents with any pertinent news or offer answers to any questions agents may have when collaborating with the tour operator.

Another option is to book with Pleasant Holidays. The tour operator offers a wide array of Mexico travel options to clients with varied agendas. It offers all-inclusive vacations in 18 Mexican destinations, providing travelers with the choice between colonial cities or modern beach resorts; lying on beaches or making use of championship golf courses; taking trips to archaeological sites or enjoying sunset cruises.

So, it seems there will be good news for Mexico tour operators this upcoming year, as the all-inclusive model will continue to give clients the vacations they crave in a way that their over-shot nerves and over-stretched funds can handle.