In Defense of All-Inclusive Resorts

Sandals Resorts leading the rediscovery of taste

Our contributor discovers the beauty of all-inclusive resorts at Sandals Resorts La Toc property in St. Lucia.

However, Sandals' idea of providing the same offerings across their resorts lends consistency but does little to set them apart. Quality is a marginally diminishing utility of experience. Novelty is a not. New never goes out of fashion or unappreciated.

With a little more effort, commitment to differentiation, and at little expense, Sandals can very easily put themselves on a significantly higher pedestal than their competitors. Some of the areas that I think can be bolstered are the consistency of service across the resort, a redo of the menus in the international cuisine to be unique rather than above average run-of-the-mill, and most importantly, incorporating local cuisine as a staple rather than a flight of fancy.

During my stay there I had the opportunity to very briefly flirt with the local culture through the market trips, a tour of an estate including a study of the chocolate production, and a single afternoon’s indulgence in St. Lucian cuisine, which was simply the best meal I had during the stay. A cuisine that abounds with flavors and spices and the freshest catch of the day must be celebrated and accessible every day rather than one day a week.

It would be a very profitable strategy for the management to include the local cuisine in their restaurant and highlight the flavors of the region they are located in. For example, in St. Lucia, it would be a brilliant idea to employ a chocolatier and pastry chef to take advantage of what I was told was the simply the best cocoa on the planet. Even through 70 percent of the production is sold to Hershey's and Nestlé, there is so much more profit that Sandals and St. Lucia can take away from the table by creating custom delicacies.

Sandals Resorts are located in simply stunning destinations. To walk along the clean, beautiful beaches against a beautiful sunset is a divine pleasure that the resort affords its residents with the guarantee of safety. They have created a brand that resonates with the locals as well, who venerate the resorts and the opportunities they have created in the local economy as also for their inclusive treatment of staff.

Leveraging these powerful bonds with the local culture will be the turnkey strategy. Each location abounds with unique and rich resources and culture. Finding that distinctive balance of Sandals Corporate and Sandal Local will truly make the Sandals experience a heady and irresistible concoction.

I was happy to witness the wheels of change being set in motion. While there is always room to grow, this desire to continually improve and align closer to the client will be the strategy that distances the brand further from its peers and ensure its position at the top!"

Related

To see some of the beautiful scenery and good food around Sandals Resort, click through our slideshow