Why You Should Be Wary Of Overly Friendly Staff At An All-Inclusive Resort

It's always wise to be aware of your surroundings on vacation. While this travel tip often pertains to safety, there are other important reasons to stay alert. If you're taking a load off at an all-inclusive resort, tread lightly with excessively friendly staff members. In many cases, a vacation package won't include everything at an all-inclusive resort. Thus, employees may be eager to sell guests additional services such as spa treatments, a la carte dining, and various excursions. Some workers are even motivated by commissions. Yup, that overzealous friendliness may be part of a sales strategy.


On one side of the coin, making a sale at an all-inclusive resort is beneficial. It can improve the guest's experience, build customer loyalty, and, of course, increase resort revenue. Yet, pestering guests to make a purchase could ruin a vacation, especially when their goal is to save some money. In a Tripadvisor review for Hilton Playa del Carmen, one former guest wrote, "From the moment you walk in the door someone is trying to upsell food and spa services at this ALL INCLUSIVE resort. Before even checking into our room. Very annoying and in poor taste." While certain upsell tactics can be irritating, the staff's behavior may present quite innocently.

The reality of annoying upselling

In January 2024, a woman's rant about her vacation garnered massive attention on TikTok. The user, who was spending her honeymoon at an all-inclusive Sandals resort, described her immense frustrations with the intrusive staff. "You cannot take two steps without some member of staff trying to sell you something," she revealed. As the woman tried to relax at the pool with her husband, resort employees continuously barged in on the couple. What started out as a friendly conversation about their trip turned into an upsell on a future vacation, photo shoot, spa booking, or recreational activities. The constant bombardment led the newlyweds to avoid the staff as much as possible.


No doubt, this level of pushiness can be aggravating for guests. So, how can you steer clear of this unwanted behavior? Even if those persistent pitches become annoying, there is a respectful way to decline an employee's offers. Aside from a polite and straightforward "no thanks," you can tell them that you're being careful with your budget but will reach out if you change your mind. If you've received the vacation as a gift, communicate that to the staff and thank them for the information. Just remember to hold your ground, as apologies and excuses are unnecessary.

Another perspective on friendly resort staff

While overly friendly resort staff can be a red flag, there's no need to restrict yourself from forming a respectable connection with an employee. In a 2024 piece for Reader's Digest, a seasoned entertainment director for an all-inclusive resort shared recurrent mistakes of guests. He noted that failing to connect with the staff could be a blunder. Staff members may go the extra mile to satisfy the needs of amicable guests, so that relationship is mutually valuable, and that connection could enhance your trip. "The employees are also an incredible resource for what to try in the surrounding areas, what you need to know about local cultural norms, how to prepare for certain excursions and other site-specific tips," he said. Inquiring about the locale is a great way to break the ice. Besides, being pleasant and personable with employees isn't rocket science. As the entertainment director suggested, simple gestures like addressing them by name and asking how they're doing go a long way.


To express gratitude for a staff member's services (besides tipping), compose a handwritten note, drop their name in a positive review, or gift them some flowers. There could be a flip side to employees who appear affable, so it's advisable to use your best judgment in a given situation. But whether you're chatting it up with the staff or declining their sales offer, being polite is key.