Booking.com strikes first in Cuban travel land-grab
Travel brands are lining up to get in on the hoopla surrounding US president Barack Obama’s visit to the Caribbean island of Cuba this week.
The Priceline Group-owned Booking.com claims today that it will be the first online travel brand in the US to have listings for “instantly bookable hotel properties” located on the socialist island.
President Obama arrived in Cuba last weekend (the first sitting US head of state to do so for 88 years), triggering a number of announcements from companies eager to ride on the coat-tails of the “historic visit”.
Properties in the capital Havana will be first to feature on Booking.com, with others in the city and elsewhere on the island to follow.
Booking.com’s move comes just 24 hours after Starwood announced that it will renovate and operate three hotels on the island – the first American (for now) company to forge any agreement with the Cuban government since the revolution in 1959.
The relaxation of diplomatic hostilities in recent years between Cuba and the US – plus president Obama’s visit this week – is likely to trigger a string of announcements and developments from US travel brands eager to capitalise on interest from US nationals to take trips to the island.
A number of US carriers, such as JetBlue, have been selling air tickets to Cuba for some months, both directly and via online travel agencies.
NB: Cuba hotel image via Shutterstock.
Kevin is senior editor and a co-founder at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and publishes his first book - a biography about Depeche Mode - in early-2017.