For each ‘Planner’s Pick,’ Prevue interviews a planner for their choices of compelling, high value destinations. PLANNER: LYNN BEIERSCHMITT Director of Sales & Operations Liaisons Meetings & Incentives Chattanooga, TN Punta Cana, on the east coast of the Dominican Republic, is basically one big beach. It’s a whopper. Almost 40 miles long, the sugar soft white beach is punctuated with millions of tall coco palms leaning over sapphire blue seas. “I’m standing there thinking that beach looks almost fake, it’s so beautiful,” says Lynn Beierschmitt, who hosted 300 global attendees for software developer Intergraph at Paradisus Palma Real Resort. “I know I will not have to dress that up. I won’t have to theme it.” Another reason she chose Punta Cana is the variety of airlift. The local airport is the world’s busiest privately owned runway. And there’s the all-inclusive value, too. “With all-inclusive, the bottom line is the same for the client but the winner is the attendee,” she says. “They have very little out-of-pocket expenses, so there’s not that ugly credit card bill when they get home.” She suggests the client can save money, also. Because the region is so compact, with so many activities included in the price, she can sometimes forgo the services of a DMC when she’s working with a slim budget and a small group who expect to stay on-property most of the time. Besides food, alcohol, entertainment and non-motorized watersports, Paradisus’ pricing plan also includes horseback riding, scuba diving lessons and golf. So let’s say for a 4-night stay, all of that might run a few hundred dollars per person. Multiply that by 300 people and an accountant somewhere is smiling. The golf inclusion alone is worth $1,000s. Any reservations about suggesting an all-inclusive beach resort to her client? “Some of those misperceptions still exist about the quality of food and service at an all-inclusive but Paradisus puts an end to that,” says Beierschmitt. Imagine four large catamarans with 100 people each. A floating bar offshore. Snorkeling and swimming with friendly stingrays flitting about the reef. Add some pina coladas and merengue lessons and your group will be just fine without you for the afternoon. Booking a day at the Marinarium Marine Park should be an automatic for planners. “It’s an easy sell. The way Punta Cana is set up, it makes it easier to manage the entire experience,” notes Beierschmitt. For VIPs, she previously shuttled them to Casa de Campo to play the world-ranked links and amble around the resort’s recreated 16th century Mediterranean village at Altos de Chavon. Fabulous shopping, by the way. That’s still on the table. But she’s also excited about the 5-star Cap Cana, with its lineup of golf and restaurants at the south of Punta Cana, coming online—where the Clintons sail in for drinks with locals Julio Iglesias and Oscar de la Renta. So the landscape is changing. Maybe Punta Cana is more than just one big beach, after all. But what a beach. Did we mention that, already?