SPOTLIGHT ON Sandor J. Winkler, Corporate Director of Sales & Marketing, The Villa Group Resorts

Villa La Estancia Riviera Nayarit aeriel view

Villa La Estancia Riviera Nayarit

In the ever-evolving landscape of all-inclusive resorts, providing a modern and personalized experience while avoiding the “one size fits all” trap is a delicate balance. Sandor Winkler, Sales and Marketing Director at The Villa Group, sheds light on how the resort group approaches this challenge. He shares insights into their commitment to tailored guest experiences and the fusion of luxury with accessibility across their seven resorts. Sandor also delves into how The Villa Group immerses travelers in authentic Mexican culture while delivering the convenience of an all-inclusive stay, and he explores the future trends of personalization, affordable luxury, and cultural immersion within the industry.

Sandor, in the era of rising popularity for all-inclusive resorts, how does The Villa Group approach ensuring a modern and personalized experience for travelers while avoiding the “one size fits all” trap? Could you share some examples of how each of your seven resorts caters to specific sets of travelers?

By continuously curating the guest experience to blend personalized service, varied dining choices, and an array of amenities and activities aimed at specific client types, The Villa Group harmonizes quality with accessibility. This approach ensures that guests feel like they are getting a unique experience while benefiting from the ability to choose the unexpected from the variety that our resorts offer.

Just one example of this is our “Chef in Suite” program – a remarkable amenity we extend to guests who book a two-bedroom suite or larger at our premier resorts: Villa La Estancia in both Los Cabos and Riviera Nayarit and Villa La Valencia in Los Cabos. It provides clients with a unique Private Chef experience unlike anything most all-inclusives can offer, precisely because they do not have the full kitchens that we feature in these units.

Sandor J. Winkler, Corporate Director of Sales & Marketing The Villa Group Resorts

The concept of affordable luxury is gaining traction among travelers seeking curated experiences without sacrificing quality. How does The Villa Group strike a balance between providing an all-inclusive experience that is both luxurious and accessible? Can you elaborate on the first-class offerings that contribute to this sense of luxury?

At The Villa Group, we focus on offering an extensive array of choices, encompassing personalized services, world-renowned spas, and a diverse culinary landscape, featuring elevated steakhouses and an extensive selection of wines handpicked by expert sommeliers, all for a very attractive price, especially when you become part of our loyalty program: V-Level. On top of this, we are always enhancing our offering with added values like massages, excursions, transportation, upgrades, etc., to make the experience that much better.

Cultural immersion is becoming increasingly important for modern travelers, even in the context of all-inclusive resorts. How does The Villa Group, as a Mexican-owned and operated resort, manage to provide guests with authentic cultural experiences that connect them to the essence of Mexico while still offering the convenience of an all-inclusive stay?

As a fully Mexican owned and operated group, The Villa Group is proud to be one of the pioneers in Mexican hospitality. For example, during the month of September, we orchestrate a month-long festival named “Taste of Mexico” across all of The Villa Group’s properties. This event showcases the diverse array of flavors and traditions that we, as Mexicans, take immense pride in. For our returning guests, this period has become a cherished time to journey and immerse themselves in a truly authentic cultural experience. Our properties are also strategically located to allow easy access to the local communities in which they are found, as well as inviting members of those communities, such as artisans, into the properties on a regular basis to expose our guests to the very best hyper-local experiences.

Villa Del Arco Cabo San Lucas

Could you share some insights into the unique ways The Villa Group integrates guests into the Mexican culture without them having to leave the resort premises? What specific cultural elements or activities do you offer to help travelers feel a genuine connection to the destination?

The difficult part would be to explain in which ways we don’t integrate with Mexican culture! Our resorts are a product of our employees, stakeholder and local contexts – we were not designed in Palma de Mallorca, nor have our activities and amenities been decided by a Corporate Director of X, Y and Z in Chicago or Bethesda. Some examples include cooking lessons, tequila and mezcal tastings, culinary exhibitions, and unique events filled with folklore and Mexican history.

As the Sales and Marketing Director, could you provide some insights into the future of the all-inclusive resort industry? How do you see the concepts of personalization, affordable luxury, and cultural immersion evolving in the coming years, and how is The Villa Group prepared to stay at the forefront of these trends?

All-inclusives tended to evolve into ever-larger resorts because of the need for economies of scale. Once people started feeling cookie-cutter, personalization & cultural immersion, etc., became important trends that will continue to intensify. But this will be ever harder for large resorts. I believe the age of smaller and more intimate all-inclusives, catering to specific interest groups, is only starting. This will require greater and greater audience definition, product alignment and the sales & marketing tools to reach niches. Once this occurs, the tendency will be to include more things in the all-inclusive experience which are valued by the members of those small audiences. So I would expect to see fewer resorts that cater to “Families, Groups, Couples, Fun Lovers, Relaxation Seekers and Wellness (which everyone defines differently)” and more medium/small resorts (or resorts within resorts) focused on specific subsets…. Vegan Families, Fitness Couples, Indulgent Groups, Relaxed Millennials and Fun-Loving Seniors. At The Villa Group, we are investing a lot of resources in the tools to identify, cater and reach these niche audiences, as well as important resources into adapting our properties to fit the defined audience’s product preferences.