My wife and I have travelled quite a bit and we've enjoyed every moment of it...well, almost every moment. We'd be lying if we didn't admit to encountering some pitfalls along the way. Who hasn't? When you consider the number of organizations involved in travel, it's a fair assumption that not everything will go perfectly. It's also probably safe to say that you're bound to meet with at least a little disappointment. (Unless you're flying a private jet, going to your own private island...but that's another blog!) The key is to avoid MAJOR disappointment. Travel is a gift, at least for us, and to lose even some of that joy is a shame. We make sure to set reasonable expectations and use companies we can depend on (for flights, hotel, car, etc.).
Since we are customer experience consultants and quite resourceful, we believe we set ourselves up well when preparing to travel. One of the simplest forms of escape is the Caribbean all inclusive (AI) resort. We've made eight AI trips in the last 10 years and have enough first hand knowledge to let the world know what we think. And let's face it, as Canadians living with too much cold and snow over a 12 month stretch, the temptation of white sand, clear blue water and an icy beverage or two is too hard to pass up - at least for us!
So what makes one AI resort stand out from the others? Are there themes common to all of them? What makes the experience so popular? What can you expect as a first timer? How expensive are these getaways? Which AI resorts do it best? Are there specific destinations that make more sense as an AI trip? Is there an argument for avoiding the AI experience altogether? What are the alternatives? Does time of year make a difference? Let's take a closer look.
The AI argument FOR - what do we like about it?
The AI argument AGAINST - what do we not like about it?
The elusive AI CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE - what needs to improve?
This is where all AI's can improve (at least the one's we have visited). While there are various areas where some do better than others, and none we've visited have failed entirely, we are unconvinced that any resort has nailed the ideal customer experience. Some of the inconsistencies include:
All in all, we are in favour of the AI experience. While there are substantial ways most tour operators and resorts can improve, those seeking an affordable holiday in a warm place, with access to great pools/beaches, decent food and drink and some good company, this is the trip for you, especially if you like to remain seated. Just be sure to do your due diligence - we suggest reading a handful of 3 star reviews on Trip Advisor, which are often balanced and helpful.
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