ECONOMY

All-inclusive hotels gain ground

The number of high-quality Greek hotels offering all-inclusive services is increasing and they are improving their product. According to estimates by the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers, there are now over 100,000 hotel beds in Greece under the all-inclusive system, with the number rising constantly at a time of crisis. The all-inclusive model incorporates all meals and other services in the rate charged by a hotel, thereby cutting the cost for customers. More and more holidaymakers are now opting for this system in order to rein in their vacation spending. The shift noted in the last few years is from two- and three-star hotels to four- and five-star hotels; in some resorts the proportion of hotels with all-inclusive services is as high as 50 percent. Critics of the all-inclusive system cite the quality of the products and services on offer, the requirement that customers wear a bracelet for recognition purposes and the general consequences for the broader local community as tourists stay within the hotel units. John Kent, chief executive officer of hotel booking website Youtravel, says there are now many more choices for quality all-inclusive services in Greece than before. He also notes that there is the option of substituting the bracelets with electronic cards to recognize customers at service points and restaurants in the hotels. Kent is also founder of the hotel chain Aquis, whose units in Corfu, Crete and Kos offer quality all-inclusive packages. He has introduced a pioneering system with the cooperation of businesses in the vicinity of the hotels so that tourists can also get out and about. The accommodation units supply holidaymakers with a discount card for various local enterprises (restaurants, jewelry stores, etc), which gives them an incentive to explore the area and spend money. Already being used on Corfu, where Aquis has four hotels, the card supplies customers with a discount for 120 businesses, with the company’s hotels on Crete to follow soon.