Wi-Fi, FreshWater Comes to Cuba

Wi-Fi, FreshWater Comes to Cuba

HAVANA, Sept. 25th Cuba is on the up, at least that’s the message according to the Gaviota Group. Gaviota represents international chains including Meliá Hotels International, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, Blue Diamond Resorts, Valentin Hotels,

Kempinski Hotels, Banyan Tree, Sercotel Hotels, MGM Muthu Hotels, AccorHotels and more, comprising approximately 90% of the company’s lodging capacities.

Although visitation from Canada has been down due to Hurricane Irma and its effects, Cuba is bouncing back to be where they were a couple of years ago. The Cuba travelers may have visited before is changing, and it’s not just the US influence. There is now even an actual 5 star property – and we say “actual” as it’s common knowledge that the star ranking system is a bit … different once you step foot outside North America.

LtoR: Eloy Govea, Director Cuba Tourist Board, Carlos Miguel Latuff Carmenate, Chief Excecutive Gaviota and Frank Pais Oltuski Rodriguez, VP Marketing, Gaviota.

TravelPulse Canada spoke with Carlos Miguel Latuff Carmenate, Chief Executive for Gaviota Tourisme Group, which owns 87 properties in the country and 5 enterprises.

“We are here to present our confidence in the Canadian market to Cuba,” Carmenate says. “It’s our goal to give consumers a white-tie service, and we are working towards this with a three year plan that includes a Wi-Fi reach in all our rooms, lounges and public areas. It’s been an issue for our clients that we are addressing and it will be effective as of December 1.”

35% of Gaviota hotels have that Wi-Fi status, which is a big portion when you consider the market. They’re also working towards having freshwater in the rooms – another aspect tourists haven’t been accustomed to.

These changes, which may seem a bit slow by industry standards, are a gateway into the positioning of Cuba as a luxury market. They might not be there yet, but they might also be on their way.

Other updates Gaviota is investing in to prepare for the upcoming vacation season include:

– The newly opened 321-room Iberostar Grand Hotel Packard, reinforcing a new standard of luxury in Havana

– The debut of the 250-room Paseo del Prado Hotel, opening in 2019

– The ongoing launch of numerous modern-style hotels, through 2021

– Plans and projections for 7,000 new hotel rooms before 2025, to keep up with the growing needs of travellers to Cuba

– The renovation statuses of the Grand Hotel, Hotel Regis, Palacio Cueto and the Marquis of Monte Hermoso

– The full list of 2020 openings, including two Cayo Santa Maria properties: La Salina Noreste with 633 rooms and La Salina Suroeste with 621 rooms

Xavier Destribats, COO, Kempinski Hotel brands, is running Cuba’s first, and only, 5 star hotel, located in the heart of Havana and says “we’ve had families come visit, go to the beach hotels, and come back to us instead because of our service.”

Which makes sense, especially given the data that the younger generation is into experiences, meaning they’re more likely to want to stay in a historical city like Havana, than just go lie on a beach in a sun destination.

By the end of 2018, Gaviota properties will incorporate a total of 3,000 new rooms and 33,200 redesigned rooms across 93 locations.