Ills of All-Inclusive Holidays

all-you-can-eat-buffetA research paper sent to us by by Professor Erdogan Koc, Bandirma Onyedi Eylul University,  Turkey:

All-inclusive holidays are preferred by tourists mainly to satisfy a number of psychological needs. Primarily, to a large extent, all-inclusive holidays satisfy tourists’ needs for safety by reducing the perception of financial, psychological, social, physiological, performance and time risks (Koc, 2013).

Tourists going on individually organized holidays are significantly more prone to the above types of risks. Risk-free all-inclusive holidays enable tourists to have more control on their holiday activities. Control is a prevailing psychological need for human beings to ensure their survival and wellbeing. To a large extent, all-inclusive holidays provide all the three main types of control, cognitive, decisional and behavioural (Averill, 1973; Cromwell et al, 1977; Bateson, 2000; Koc, 2015).

As all-inclusive package holidays are bought and paid before going on a holiday, and the fact that tourists know that there will be no further payments, their psychological need for cognitive control is satisfied.  Basically cognitive control ensures that no negative surprises occur (Faranda, 2001; Weinschenk, 2011). Hence cognitive control is to do with the predictability of future events and having sufficient information about future events.

On the other hand, the revocable nature of many all-inclusive holidays allow customers to cancel their holidays beforehand and offering money back guarantees and enable tourists to have behavioural control. Behavioural control enables an individual to cancel a transaction at any point in time without incurring any significant costs.

Finally, all-inclusive holidays enable tourists to have a free choice of alternatives. Tourists on all-inclusive holidays can make many of their consumption decisions freely in terms of what to eat and drink, e.g. from a free open buffet, and which activity to participate, etc. The ability to make free choices on all-inclusive holidays allows tourists to have decisional control (Noone, 2008; Koc, 2013). Contrary to an open buffet restaurant, a tourist eating in a à la carte restaurant may feel that her/his decisional control is limited due to suggestions or hints of the waiter, the availability of food items and so on.

However, customers tend to be less satisfied in all-inclusive hotels compared with other hotels, due to dissatisfied and stressed employees who try to provide non-stop service in these holiday establishments (Koc, 2006 and 2007). In general in all-inclusive establishments staff have worse working conditions and labour rights and are subjected to more stress and longer hours than those in other hotels. Still many countries like Turkey concentrate and depend largely on all-inclusive holidays (Koc, 2009).

Koc’s (2013) research shows that on all-inclusive holidays tourists engage in inversionary or liminoidal consumption and consume food and drinks excessively both in terms of quantity and variety. Based on the findings of the study all-inclusive holidays may cause gluttony and obesity.  According to Koc (2013):

  • Only about 12% of tourists on all-inclusive holidays thought that the quality of the food and drinks they consumed in all-inclusive holiday establishments was higher than the food and drinks they consumed in their daily lives. Boz’s (2015) neuromarketing study with the use of an Eye Tracker suggests that tourists tend to look at appetizing local and ethnic food photos the least among the visual marketing communication messages containing photos of historical sightseeings, natural beauties, indoor and outdoor facilities of the accommodation establishments rooms and local and ethnic foods. This is primarily to do with the credibility of the photos. As most of the tourists in Turkey go on all-inclusive holidays they are aware of the food offerings these all-inclusive holiday establishments may have.
  • Only 7% of tourists on all-inclusive holidays found the food and drinks as healthier in these (all-inclusive) holiday establishments compared with the food and drinks consumed in their daily lives.
  • Almost half of the tourists ended up consuming a higher quantity of food and drink on holiday than they do in their daily lives.
  • A significantly higher proportion of tourists (about 68%) consume more variety of food and drink when they are on a all-inclusive holiday compared with their daily lives.  This means that a significant proportion of tourists engage in most of the types of behaviour pertaining to gluttony.
  • It is an important finding that about 78% of tourists on all-inclusive holidays admit that they put on weight when they are on an all-inclusive holiday.
  • Even if all tourists immediately return to their usual daily diets—only about 62% of them stated that they were capable of doing this—year after year people would be putting on a lot of weight

In addition to the amount of weight gained on an all-inclusive holidays, about 32% of respondents stated that they continue their overconsumption habits after their holidays.

  • Author: Professor Erdogan Koc, Bandirma Onyedi Eylul University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Bandirma, Balikesir, Turkey
  • E-mail:


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