Sam Ion

Sam Ion is the single best resource tool you can find on All Inclusives. She knows more about them than pretty well anyone on this planet. She is well known, well respected, and writes informatively, interestingly and irreverently. She keeps readers up-to-date on specific resorts and on all inclusives in general. She knows what to look for, and tells you how to best keep your clients informed.

And, as for resort weddings –  she's got first hand experience. Sam recently swapped vows with her first husband for the second time at Sandals in Jamaica.

Her column Ion: Not Just All Inclusives runs on alternate Wednesdays.


Pack patience not attitude
11 AUG 2010: They’ve been to Cancun, tried the Mayan several times, liked Puerto Vallarta, done Cuba, and the Dominican, got adventurous and went to Jamaica. Now they’re in your office looking for something different. Of course they’re on a tight budget, so the cheaper the better. MORE

And the all inclusive
28 JUL 2010: Years ago, my late husband and I were looking for a two week beach holiday, I wanted the beach, he wanted a bit of golf. I hunted through the brochures, looked for sell-offs and booked a great deal - The Contadora Beach Resort on a small island off the coast of Panama. MORE

Teens and tweens are VIPs at Beaches
14 JUL 2010: It has been 13 years since Michael Baginski and I put on hard hats and clambered around the freshly poured concrete at Beaches Negril. I’ve never forgotten the guided tour. “This is the nursery, and right here beside it is the teen club.” That won’t work I thought remembering my kids when they were teens. It didn’t work, before long the layout changed, and that is why I admire Butch Stewart the Chairman and founder and Adam Stewart, the CEO of Sandals Resorts International. When they see something doesn’t work, they admit it and fix it. MORE

Picking properties for party pax
30 JUN 2010: Mary and Jo-Anne came back from their vacation and gave their agent an earful. “Everybody at our all-inclusive resort was over 70 or had four kids. It was bed time at 9 pm. Why didn’t you warn us?” No-one likes calls like this, you want your clients to come back raving about the great property you sent them to. How would you know there weren’t other singles ready to socialize with your clients? MORE

And a bit more
02 JUN 2010: The marketing director of a large resort had heard that I've slept in many all-inclusive resorts, so she concluded I must be an expert. She had some questions. “How do I attract Gay and Lesbian guests, it is a market I know nothing about, but we need to increase our occupancy and I’m told they have money?” Well I didn’t know either, and when I started researching, the results were very interesting. MORE

Five star contributor
21 APR 2010: Fernando Garcia Zalvidea is a character, he is also general director, Real Resorts, an engineer and a man who has been personally blessed by the Pope for his charity work. He's rarely out of the news. Last year during the flu scare in Mexico he offered any tourist that contacted the H1N1 flu virus within 14 days of visiting his resorts three years of free holidays. On February 18th he was recognized with a Five Star Award for his contribution to Mexican tourism and the hospitality industry. MORE

They may not
07 APR 2010: Do you spend $6,000 after tax income upfront on a product that you haven't seen, haven't tried, haven't sniffed, and haven't felt? Your clients do every time they take your advice and book an all-inclusive holiday. As you well know, when they say they simply want a sun holiday, they want it all, meaning a 5-star, with gourmet food, premium drinks, good wines, top entertainment, and suites that could qualify for a photo op in a glossy decorating magazine. Oh, and you also know they want to pay as little as possible for this week. MORE

A winning combination
25 MAR 2010: It is no secret that I feel AM Resorts offers a high quality product that is truly value for dollar. The A.M. brand was created in 2001 and has been adding resorts ever since. There are three Zoetry Wellness and Spa Resorts, The Zoetry Collection has one open (Golden Bear Lodge and Spa ), six Secrets, eleven Dreams Resorts and Spas, and one Now Resorts and Spa. MORE

It ain’t easy being an agent 24 NOV 2009: How hard can it be to become a travel agent? Sheepishly I confess, that I thought it would be easy, after all I know all-inclusives. So, when (years ago) a reader asked if I could handle her destination wedding, it was a good time to test my skills. Bravo Travel kindly took me on to teach me how to be an outside agent., and I was on my way to a new career. MORE