Cuban Hotel Reservations: Havanatur Announces the End of Prepayment

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All Cuba hotels now available without prepayment.

For over two decades, Cuba has been one of the worlds few destinations where, in order to receive a hotel confirmation, tourists had to prepay the whole stay, days, weeks or months in advance. Some visitors were obliged to prepay thousands for a hotel stay in Cuba, six months or more in advance, simply to secure specific dates. But not any longer!

Recent sweeping changes introduced in July 2013, mean that hotel bookings in Cuba can now be secured without the previously draconian 100% payment regime imposed until now. Apparently, due to dwindling hotel bookings in Cuba and, a marked preference by visitors for the "pay on arrival" rooms at private homes known as casa particulares, Cuban tourism officials have introduced these new measures designed to increase sales of hotel rooms and stimulate overall hotel bookings. is the first of such booking platforms.

The Cuban hotel chains currently allowing 100% confirmed bookings without prepayment are; Melia, IBEROSTAR, Occidental, Gran Caribe, Cubanacan, H10, BE LIVE, Breezes, SOFITEL, HABAGUANEX, ACCOR, ISLAZUL, SANDALS, Gaviota, BELLEVUE, MEMORIES or Mercure.

The new system operates similar to familiar world standardized hotel bookings, where a card is provided during the booking process, however, unlike before, the card is only charged after the guest has checked into the hotel. The card is not required at check in because it is charged automatically once the hotel advises the system that the guest has successfully checked in, at which time, the charge is completed without guest involvement or any local payment being required. Essentially, it operates much like a prepaid booking during the hotel check-in formalities because, the hotel need only advise when the guest has checked-in to obtain the full payment from the booking system.

Another welcome feature is the multiple currency billing, which now means that hotel rates are shown in all major currencies instead of just Euros or CUC.

With thousands of successful bookings since July 8th (when the system rolled out), the coordination has proved faultless, with guests receiving their guaranteed Cuban hotel booking upon arrival and without hiccups.

With world economies still affected by financial crisis, it is more than likely that this decision was taken to align Cuba's travel sector with the rest of the world. After all, paying months or, up to a year in advance, may have deterred visitors from choosing Cuba when destinations like Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic or Florida have been allowing non prepayment of hotel rooms for over a decade.

Experts in the travel sector believe that Cuban tourism officials may be looking to cash in on the increasing numbers of organized travelers, especially families subject to fixed school holidays and who tend to book well in advance, but until now, have steered clear of Cuba due to the 100% prepayment previously required to secure hotel accommodations. One travel professional who deals with Cuba thinks that officials are hoping that the elimination of prepayment will increase preseason bookings at Cuban hotels.

With Cuban hotel bookings now firmly in the 21st century, tourism numbers to the island nation should increase in 2014.

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