Insights on Travel from Costa Rica Expeditions’ Founder Michael Kaye and his Expert Friends.

How Reservations Work at Cuban Hotels: A Guest Post by Kristen MacQueen. Back to Cuba Again Part#5

Post April 5 Kristen on Hotels.

Since it’s Cuba, I’ll use a baseball analogy to describe how working with the state hotels here is for travel agents.

The hotels are the pitchers. We are the batters.  The state owned ground handler through which we have to make the reservations is the umpire.  The pitcher and the umpire are on the same team. This means that the pitchers can throw any pitch they want and it will be called a strike.

The hotels want to maximize occupancy.  The best way to do this, if you are not worried about guests complaining, is to overbook. Hotels in Cuba accept up to 20% more than their actual capacity based on the probability that between the time of the reservation and arrival, some people will cancel.

What happens when all the confirmed guests show up?  See Michael’s March 31 post, “How Do You Deal With Getting Bumped Out of a Hotel in Cuba?”

(MK:  Who cares if the shower does not work in the hotel Armadores de Santander in old Havana if this is what you see when you look out your window.)

Photo courtesy of Cindy Loo. March 25, 2011

The high demand hotels where this is most likely to happen are in Old Havana, Viñales and Trinidad. For individual bookings, our clients are rarely subjected to the dreaded “bumpings”. But for groups, especially in the middle of high season, watch out.

So how do we deal with this situation?

•    We request that our ground handlers block our space in our preferred hotels for all group tours almost a year in advance.

•    We include a caveat on all of our itineraries that hotels may change without notice.

In reality we can never be sure where our groups are going to end up until 2 weeks before  their departure. In rare cases we are not advised that we have been bumped until the group arrives at the hotel.

In Cuba the hotel’s only contractual obligation is to relocate bumped groups to a hotel of the same or superior rating, hopefully within the same area or worse (if it’s a case of total hotel saturation), to another tourism pole altogether.

We have to be creative in these situations. (MK: “I’ll say!”)

Once we had a Danish group which was downgraded from a 3* hotel in Trinidad to a 2* hotel in a charming location about ½ hour outside of the city.  The services and location of the hotel were nothing close to what they were expecting. They were looking forward to walking around the colonial city, some dancing and music in the city of Trinidad in the evening.

Other than driving 5 hours to Havana or sleeping on a Trinidad park bench, there were no other alternatives. So the guide made the best of the situation and organized a group of local musicians on the beach and an impromptu pork roast.  Doing his best to make lemonade out of lemons, he conjured up an authentic Cuban party at the last minute.

Once for a small cycling group we opted to to use licensed private houses in order not to have to backtrack 2.5 hours to Havana and miss out on some of the most scenic bike rides of the trip. While the accommodations were more rustic than what they were expecting, many later commented that they appreciated the experience for the insight it gave them into Cuban life.

We of course try and provide compensation during the tour for anything that doesn’t go as planned. I think my brother’s strategy is to ply our guests with extra wine at dinner (lol)…

There are many challenges to working and traveling in Cuba. If you’re willing to roll with the punches, then traveling in Cuba can be a great adventure.

I think maybe part of what attracts a lot of our guests to Cuba is the fact that it’s not perfect. People are interested in seeing a place which has remained largely untouched by external forces for the last 50+ years. If you think you’re brave enough to take the good with the mediocre, then by all means jump in.

The warmth and shy smiles of rural Cubans, the dogged spirit of the Cuban people, the natural beauty of many of its land and seascapes, and much more may just make a total upheaval in your itinerary seem insignificant. I’m crossing my fingers that’s how our guests will feel anyway….

(MK: If our group was at all representative, Kristen can uncross her fingers.  Of the 12 participants 5 of us were repeaters.  Four people came because the trip was recommended by two of the repeat travelers who they had met on another bike trip.  I never found out why the other 3 participants choose this tour, but I would not be surprised if they of them return.
Still no correct answer to what the barber told me he used for practice in the absence of peaches or what Yolanda loves about the Newspapers in Cuba. The contest continues.

New contest: What did Yolanda do when after a long hot day of biking the shower did not work in Hotel Pictured above?

I’ll send a bag of gourmet Costa Rican Coffee to the first three persons who can guess what she did? If you were there or I could not resist telling you about it, you are not eligible.

In my next Cuba posts I’ll tell you more about what it is like to travel in Cuba.)

Share with Delicious Share with Digg Share with Facebook Share with LinkedIn Share with MySpace Share with reddit Share with StumbleUpon Share with Twitter

Leave a comment

(Required. Will not be published)
(Not required)

37 Comments and 0 Replies

  • varieties of designs of suntanning remedies. you need to interpret those skin tone, long before one undergoes unquestionably the suntanning the treatment plan. it will help the one to generally be capable of producing deciding on decide on lying down or simply standing up intervention. First, Have a fantastic, tiny central. The primary is really specifically what motor your other body anytime diving freestyle. event your core might be secured all of those other exercise equipment within the body will enter position.

    • The trusses in an average shop also include side to side ceiling joists the reduced chords inside trusses together with diagonal roof structure holds the upper chords. the place somewhere between rrs a basement, a great number the homeowners insulate this important area courtesy of – spreading ingredient on reduced chords from trusses. this keeps your kids empty as well as moisture build-up or condensation wastes into the top of chords, inflicting them to grow.

      • precisely what ideas think you have once become a member of Comcast insert? Comcast is an organisation which is supplies the best in world, business phone on top of that cable everything in one. the positive aspects of an additional is that you purchase a bunch of their systems at a very affordable reasonable price if you’ve got an interest their lot of money box. purchasing of coughing up a crazy reasonable price for the ideas this Comcast facilitates are no longer,

        • This is a terrific website, will you be interested in doing an interview regarding just how you developed it? If so e-mail me!

          • I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. appreciate it

            • Hello there I am so glad I found your webpage, I really found you by mistake, while I was browsing on Yahoo for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a marvelous post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don韙 have time to read it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the great work.

              • I was curious if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?
                バーバリーブルーレーベル 広島

                • Hi! I’ve been reading your site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic work!

                  • Brooks was scheduled to perform live on “Kelly and Michael” on Tuesday, while other appearances were to be taped and broadcast later, Seltzer said. [url=]moncler jacket[/url] Branstad said he wants to see what impact new Republican control of the U.S. Senate will have on the health care law, although widespread changes seem unlikely at least during the next two years while President Barack Obama is still in office. p [url=]mulberry handbags outlet[/url]
                    There is a gospel being preached these days that is referred to as the “health and wealth gospel.” It is true that it says in 3rd John, verse two, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” This is a prayer by the Apostle John. It must be remembered that, if God chooses to answer this prayer and to give us both health and wealth (health alone would be wealth to lots of people), there will be the responsibility to use that health and wealth to glorify God through a proper stewardship of these gifts. [url=]cheap true religion jeans[/url] — jo sandelson (@josandelson)
                    I want to thank all of our dedicated economic attaches around the world and [url=]canda goose outlet[/url] It is delightfully surprising to find blooms of three or four different colors in the same hill of Prickly Pear Cactus. The succulent pads of the prickly pear expand to store water for times of drought. This survival technique made it possible for some of the cactus plants to bloom in 2012 when other wildflower varieties were sparse. With the rains of spring 2013, prickly pear pads that appeared dry, faded and dead, came alive with new growth and color. u [url=]michael kors[/url]
                    No cash value. [url=]canada goose outlet online[/url] Some research suggests that once inflammation occurs in the liver, the risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke increases substantially.
                    u Q. Kyle said earlier during his session that the team is so confident and cohesive and he thinks you recruit guys who want to step up and be leaders. Do you coach confidence to a certain level beyond Xs and Os trying to instill confidence in players? MARK GOTTFRIED: Well, I think we all do that. We all try to do that. We’re not always successful doing that. I’ve tried to recruit guys, and while we’ve recruited them, I’ve tried to find guys that want to accept the challenge of going to NC State. I live in a tough neighborhood, college basketball, and I’ve got neighbors down the road that have been pretty good. And we’ve tried to challenge guys in that if you choose to come here, you’ve got to accept the challenge, that to stand on the top in this league, it’s tough. You’d better be willing to pay a price to do it. So we’ll see. I think Kyle is a guy that he mentioned to me being confident. He’s very confident. I think our team is that way. As coaches we always try. Sometimes we’re not as successful as we want to be in getting a team that become that way. And success usually breeds confidence. When you have success, you get a little bit more confident, and so as your team gets better, you gain that confidence. So we’ve been able to do a little bit of that. Now we’ve got to do a little bit more. [url=]michael kors online store[/url] Starting on Monday when the Brewers return home for a six-game series against the Padres and Cubs, the Hank House will debut in one of the fan sections in center field. [url=]canada goose[/url]
                    • Dental anxiety [url=]coach outlet store online[/url] Sadly, potatoes are shunned for being too high in carbs. But they offer so much nutrition. A half cup is only 70 calories, plus it supplies a good source of vitamins C and B6, both of which are involved in shoring up your immune system so you feel on top of your game this season. The trouble is, potatoes are usually paired with high-fat ingredients like cheese and cream. Keep things simple with boiled taters to reap the health boost without the waist-widening side effect.
                    The discussions come just two months after the Bergen County Freeholders and merge it with the Bergen County police department. The deal would have seen Demarest pay the county police department $2.7 million a year for seven years to absorb Demarest’s 13 police officers. [url=]burberry outlet online[/url] “She’s planning to move to New York City permanently to get away from all of them. She’s obligated to make appearances with her sisters, but she wants to be a supermodel, not a C-list reality TV star,” OK! magazine quoted a source as saying. w [url=]moncler jackets outlet[/url]
                    Most people assume these symptoms are a result of age. Dry eye is a part of the natural aging process, as a majority of people over the age 65 experience some dry eye symptoms. [url=]canada goose jackets online[/url] After Karageorge went missing, the football team’s physician, Dr. , said he could not comment on the medical care of student athletes. But, he said, “We are confident in our medical procedures and policies to return athletes to participation following injury or illness.”
                    The new revival of Cole Porter’s timeless classic musical theatre masterpiece, , will make its premiere December 9 – 14 as part of the Lexus Broadway in Austin at Texas Performing Arts. [url=]true religion jeans outlet[/url] The Lionesses conceded just one goal in ten World Cup qualifiers, but within 12 minutes they had shipped two when a mix-up between Fara Williams and Houghton saw the striker race through and finish low into the far corner.
                    The Broncos have morphed into a jugger-not. [url=]moncler outlet[/url] In this still frame from video, a worker moves pods of merchandise that are moved by robots, seen on a tour of one of Amazon’s newest distribution centers in Tracy, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014. This Amazon Fulfillment Center opened in 2013 and was refitted to use new robot technology in the summer of 2014. All year Amazon has been investing in ways to make shipping faster and easier to prepare for this holiday season. At this Northern California warehouse the company is employing robotics and other new technology to help workers process the annual onslaught of shopping orders. (AP Photo/Brandon Bailey)
                    Maternal mental health problems can arise during preconception, pregnancy, labor, delivery and the first year after giving birth. [url=]canada goose parka[/url] an organization that started in Hudson, Wis., in 2009, operates with the phrase Take a book. Return a book. The movement has spread across the world as organizations and individuals build miniature houses that hold books for public use. Anyone can stop by and take a book to read, and anyone can donate books to the library.
                    s A day after guiding the Blazers to a sixth win, , making them eligible for bowl competition for the first time in 10 years, todayhe fears the program could be shutdown. [url=]canada goose jackets online[/url] 17.06.2013
                    The newest Eminem controversy comes after he released a new song, “Shady XV.” In the newest offering, Eminem describes oral sex with Rihanna. The thing is, Eminem admits in the song that he is a pathological liar. It’s right in the same verse where he claims to have had relations with his “Love The Way You Lie” collaborator. [url=]moncler outlet[/url] Just like any , there are pros and cons to using Casual. But, if you have a small budget, this is a great tool to have in order to stay organized. You will be able to manage your teams, and work effectively with each member. You will have the capability to schedule many things, including milestones, employee schedules, deliverables, activities, and more. One of the biggest advantages is the ability to manage many projects at once. You can even plan your daily tasks using the task management features. h [url=]michael kors outlet[/url]
                    He also had a strange track record of tenacious legal battles, having fought Jack Daniels in court over siding for a cabin in Lynchburg, Tenn. He told friends he spent $100,000 fighting in Madison County courts for the ownership of a lost dog. [url=]tory burch outlet online[/url] Right tackle Geoff Schwartz, playing in place of starter Justin Pugh, injured his left ankle and left on a cart. His replacement, James Brewer, also left the game with a concussion. Running back Rashad Jennings sat out most of the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. The Giants managed just 75 yards in the second half.
                    k Virtually every municipality in the department of Gour has been affected by severe soil degradation, said UNDP. [url=]coach outlet store online[/url] It may seem obvious, but perhaps it’s worth reminding readers that alcohol andhand grenades are apoor combination as far as safety is concerned. InOctober 2006, Moscow resident Yury Petrushkov with his drinking buddy insoutheastern Moscow. During thedrunken scuffle, Petrushkov’s friend slipped ahand grenade intohis pocket, where it detonated, killing Petrushkov, injuring athird man anddamaging four cars. e
                    While everyone is complaining about how their lunch looks like, 3rd world countries have nothing to eat. [url=]michael kors handbags outlet[/url] 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person. [url=]true religion jeans outlet[/url]
                    Marc Marino (AIS) [url=]burberry outlet[/url] RELIEF may be in sight for long-suffering Northern Rail passengers, after ministers pledged to replace those trundling, 30-year-old Pacer trains Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald protested: “My wife’s grandma raced the trains years ago – and I think she could still do that now.” e [url=]coach outlet online[/url]
                    “I think everything happens for a reason,” Wass told the . “I guess it all worked out for the best. It would have been nice to be drafted, but in the end I’m where I want to be.” [url=]cheap burberry shirts[/url] Throughout his performance he occasionally turned to face the audience, but spent most of the concert facing his mic which was attached to the piano, all the while ruffling and running his hands through his unkept shock of gray hair while he joked with the audience between songs.
                    Danielle Chambers, sr., North Andrew [url=]burberry outlet online[/url] It’s only fitting that the Internet would roll out the red carpet for the inauguration of a president with such a high-tech reputation. d [url=]chanel outlet[/url]
                    “I get comments from my regular customers, who always want to know what they can do,” she said. “I just say ‘You can contact corporate and express your feelings on being open on Thanksgiving.’” [url=]ugg boots outlet[/url] To make a traditional full-style wreath, Farmgirl’s designers suggest some basic techniques for a simple project on a wire frame.

                    • Extra short guideline instructs you the intricacies linked with handbags and consequently exactly what you should do this afternoon.
                      Leopard Batik Square

                      • Hey there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.

                        • shoes site owners are being hyped in the US, not just Countries in europe
                          Hermes Wallets IRF4841

                          • スウィートブログ!ヤフーニュースで検索間、私はそれを見つけました。ヤフーニュースに記載されて取得する方法について| 提案のヒント何かありますか?私はしばらくの間しようとしてきたが、私はそこに着くように見えることはありません! ありがとうござい
                            バルトリーニ エミリオ オリーブオイル

                            • 素晴らしいブログ!作家志望のための提案提言何かありますか?私自身の起動に|私は望んで計画してよすぐにサイトブログをが、私はすべてで失わ少しだ。有償オプションのためのWordpressやジョギングのような無料のプラットフォームで始まるあなたは か? オプションの選択私は完全だという、そこに混同そう多くはありませ..でも提案? 乾杯!
                              グッチ 財布 星柄

                              • This will be a excellent site, will you be involved in doing an interview about how you designed it? If so e-mail me!

                                • I believe one of your advertisings triggered my web browser to resize, you might want to put that on your blacklist.
                                  louis vuitton galliera pm quilting fabric

                                  • Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say superb blog!
                                    discount louis vuitton 55 keepall damier

                                    • Yesterday, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!
                                      ugg zamora poppy

                                      • The very root of your writing while sounding reasonable at first, did not sit very well with me personally after some time. Someplace throughout the sentences you actually managed to make me a believer unfortunately just for a short while. I still have got a problem with your leaps in logic and one might do well to fill in those breaks. In the event that you can accomplish that, I will surely be fascinated.
                                        like ugg boots but cheaper

                                        • Awesome blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Thank you!
                                          michael kors sunglasses diamante

                                          • I do enjoy the way you have presented this particular problem and it does indeed give me some fodder for consideration. Nonetheless, coming from everything that I have seen, I just hope as other feed-back pile on that people continue to be on issue and don’t embark on a soap box associated with some other news of the day. Still, thank you for this superb point and while I can not necessarily go along with this in totality, I value the perspective.
                                            michael kors dubai mall collection

                                            • Efficient review explains the most important intricacies on bag and also all that one ought to do immediately.
                                              cheap luxurious burberry black friday specials 2014 sale outlet store

                                              • Secrets to bag- You can turbo charge bag In a nanosecond!
                                                デラックスパッケージ 【cランク】【フレックスsr】 テーラーメイド burner(2007) ti 18° re ax superfast fw sr【golpa】【メンズ】【右利き】【fw】 taylormade バーナー ゴルフクラブグルーポン系サービス本物保証

                                                • Music started playing any time I opened this site, so annoying!
                                                  フルラ 年代層

                                                  • Genuinely no matter iif soeone doesn’t be aware of then its up to other visitors that they will
                                                    help, so here it takes place.

                                                        • Les britanniques, pour rprimer ce mouvement indpendantiste, recrutent des milices de chypriotes turcs pour renforcer leurs troupes.
                                                          Sac Lancel bb

                                                          • Hi! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

                                                            • A big difference between overbooking by the state-owned Cuban Hotels and the airlines is that the airlines are required to ask for volunteers before bumping people involuntarily and they are required to compensate everyone they bump. There is an interesting article in today’s on-line New York Times about people who reserve flights that are likely to be overbooked so that they can get bumped and collect the compensation.

                                                              Clarification: The creative solutions come from WOWCuba, not CRE

                                                              • At April 06, 2011
                                                                10:28:01 am
                                                                Paul Shields said:

                                                                She jumped in the water or stood in the rain!

                                                                • At April 06, 2011
                                                                  9:33:52 am
                                                                  Chris Parrott said:

                                                                  Well, since we (as a UK tour operator dealing with Cuba) also find ourselves in the same batter-versus-pitcher/umpire situation, I agree wholeheartedly with Kirsten’s clarification of how the booking of Cuban hotels all works.

                                                                  We find it even happens (although less frequently now) with individuals, who find themselves in the street with their luggage at midnight, and of course no resourceful tour leader, no Spanish, and no group members to share (later) in the humour of it all.

                                                                  The baseball analogy reminds me of evenings I have spent, wine glass in hand, with Michael and Yolanda discussing how US sporting metaphors have found their way into UK English. They transpose fairly easily into cricket.

                                                                  One term in baseball that hasn’t reached this side of the Great Divide is what they call their trousers. I gather that what we call plus-fours they call knickers.

                                                                  Whereas knickers, in England, is used in an entirely different context…

                                                                  • So far no one has gotten it, but one person came sorta close on what Yolanda did when the shower did not work

                                                                    • At April 06, 2011
                                                                      6:41:44 am
                                                                      Shannon Borrego said:

                                                                      The philosophy of the hoteliers in Cuba sounds similar to that of the airlines in the U.S.–overbook and hope that enough people cancel to avoid a surplus of warm bodies at the last minute. However, CRE’s creative solutions are much more interesting than a free airline ticket on a later flight.
                                                                      Cheryl Schiarizzi beat me to the punch–I think Yolanda found a hose somewhere and rinsed off; possibly laughing and singing while doing so.

                                                                      • At April 05, 2011
                                                                        6:38:21 pm
                                                                        Cheryl Schiarizzi said:

                                                                        one more thought — the barber shaved a pig

                                                                        • At April 05, 2011
                                                                          6:37:18 pm
                                                                          Cheryl Schiarizzi said:

                                                                          Cuban Barbers practice on balloons
                                                                          Yolanda likes the headlines
                                                                          Yolanda showered with the hose in the pool area

                                                                          • At April 05, 2011
                                                                            5:33:07 pm
                                                                            paul cosulich said:

                                                                            the baber shaved hush puppy shoes…or cacti….or some kind of animal…fidel castro dolls….or places that bathing suits usually cover

                                                                            Yolanda went swimming in the bay in the photo….or in another guests rooms, or in the fountain out front, or the managers house