"There are no beds for the kids," announces my client, calling my cell phone late Sunday.
"What do you mean, there are no beds for the kids? I booked you into a room with bedding for 4."
"Well, we upgraded our room upon arrival to the Club class to get the better view, and it just has a king bed."
"Did the room you gave up have 2 double beds?"
"Yes, but we can't sleep in a double bed."
Oh, it would have been good to know that. She says she told me last time I booked her at a resort, but despite several cruise bookings, it's her first resort booking with me. So, there they are, a young couple at a higher end resort in Cancun (thanks to a friend planning her wedding there), with just a king bed to share with their young children (3 and 5), having given up their double double room. In the end, the resort went above and beyond, hauling sofa beds into the king room, and all is well. But it could have turned out differently.
This recent scenario brings me to mind a few things I have learned about booking clients into all-inclusive resorts, so thought I would take a few minutes to share a few:
I saw it less online - of course you did. And you probably did. I actually believe you. If you wanted the red eye flights, a 12 hour layover, a crappier room type, or a with a carrier that doesn't seat selection. Or baggage. Or transfers. Or the resort as 'room only', rather than 'all-inclusive'. The choices you make impact your experience and your price. When I work with clients, my goal is to help them find the best value for their vacation, balancing out all factors. When you have to sleep overnight in a connecting airport, or have to check-out of your room at noon for a 3:00 am departure the next morning, you might not find it was worth saving a couple hundred dollars.
I want to be sure they aren't renovating my resort - renovations do happen (how else do you expect that beautiful resort to have the best features and stay beautiful?), but there are things you can do to avoid them. Booking with a travel agent is probably your best bet, but you can also read the resort's website and read recent reviews. Renovations are one of the things I watch for when I help clients book a getaway (agents get warnings during the booking process), but people often miss if they are booking themselves online (this is 1 of 13 things on a recent list of things resorts won't tell you).
New Club Med Openings: Sicily, the Great Wall, and More - Frommer's
All-Inclusive Vacations: The 7 Essential Questions Every Traveler Must Ask - Budget Travel
13 Things All-Inclusive Resorts Won’t Tell You (But Should) - Reader's Digest
The Hidden Fee That Could Make Your Next Vacation More Expensive - Travel + Leisure
23 Europe All-inclusive resort destinations - Price of Travel