The Allure of ‘All Inclusive’ Pricing

Jul 10, 2014, Written by Sue Miley

Have you been to an all-inclusive resort, or on an all-inclusive cruise before?  What about an all you can eat buffet?  The concept plays on our abundance mentality.  Once we have laid out the money, we move forward with the idea that everything is free.

It is a great marketing ploy.  They play on the psychology of having all you want, when in reality, the majority of people don’t consume in excess.  We may eat or drink a little more, but we paid a premium for the “all inclusive” or “all you can eat”.

They make their money on the people that don’t over consume, and these people are in the majority.  So if a few of you do eat all day and consume more than your normal consumption, they (the restaurant or resort) still come out ahead on the odds.

Pricing based on an abundance philosophy!

This ties in to our strategy on pricing.  If we price our products feeding the abundance philosophy that most people subscribe to, it will most likely average out in our favor.

I have been the consumer who gets really excited about all of the bonuses being offered with a book or product.  I get sucked right in.  But, when I think about it, I don’t even get a chance to look at or use most of the bonuses.  I don’t have time.

I have been on the other side of this equation though.  I have an online coaching program where clients can access me as often as they want through an online platform.  They don’t.  They wait until I check in with them.   Since the client doesn’t use the service to it’s full extent, I end up using  much less of my time.   So the clients on this program are usually really profitable because in actuality, the clients are not using the program to it’s capacity.

They get their cake, but do they eat it, too?

I guess that should make me happy, but in reality, I want to help people and I want the program to seem like a good value.  If it isn’t used, the client may well think this is a waste of time and I haven’t helped at all.

That is much worse to me.  I would rather spend too much time on a client and  have a happy customer who wants to continue working with me.

Using the full service is probably not the goal of the resorts or restaurants, but you get the picture of the pricing strategy employed.  It depends on your product or service and it depends on your goal.

Some customers prefer to know the set price in advance and how much they consume or use is their responsibility.  I know for vacations, I am definitely that way.

What are your thoughts?

Are there products and services you can bundle to provide an all-inclusive feel? Would that match your philosophy and strategy?

Reader Interactions


  1. Karen Dawkins says

    As a travel writer (focused on budget family travel), I get asked about all-inclusive v. pay as you go pricing all the time. Rarely is that all-inclusive price worth it. It seems, though, that many people prefer the convenience of getting it all to paying for what they really need — or will use.

    We accept what others say is a great value without looking at the true costs. I personally prefer to pay for services as I use them.

    • Sue Miley says

      Thanks Karen. I appreciate hearing it from someone with travel experience. I felt that way on our recent cruise, my first ever. We jokingly laughed after each meal, saying only 5 more meals today to get our money’s worth! But, as we both noted, some prefer the fixed fee and the freedom to have all that you desire. Thanks again for your comments!

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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