Marshall-Alan Associates: Cuba Beckons to American Hotel Operators

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Alan Massarsky, President and Founder of Marshall-Alan Associates, has authored an article guiding American hotel executives through the complex process of building a presence in Cuba.

“It’s been nearly impossible recently to ignore the buzz about all the exciting new opportunities for American hotel operators in Cuba,” says Massarsky. “Despite the many difficulties involved, establishing luxury properties in former Cold War-era foes Vietnam and Russia has demonstrated that developing a marketplace for American travelers can be hugely profitable and rewarding for both American and local investors involved. But reaching that point requires overcoming a unique and complicated set of challenges, like government relations, hiring and training locals, and lack of infrastructure required for luxury travel.”

With fewer than 70,000 hotel rooms on the entire island and over 3 million foreign tourists visiting annually, demand for hotels (particularly in the luxury category) already far outpaces supply. American travel and business in Cuba is set to surge now that the governments have finally agreed to significantly relax restrictions. The first direct commercial flights will take off by next year. And now, with President Obama’s historic visit indicating that Cuba is officially open to American business, many hospitality operators are eager to establish a presence on the scene.

Foreign hotel companies will still be legally required to partner with Cuban entities and abide by an extensive set of regulations. Therefore, “developers, owners, and managers will need to be prepared to negotiate control on important matters like human resources,” says Massarsky, adding “as the situation normalizes and American companies overcome the initial obstacles and learning curve of doing business in Cuba, we can look forward to increasingly close relations between the two nations, and to Cuba becoming a favored destination for all segments of the American travel market.”

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About Marshall-Alan Associates:
Marshall-Alan Associates is a full-service executive search organization, established in 1982, dedicated exclusively to serving the needs of the international hospitality industry. Its team possesses over one hundred years of combined professional experience and is uniquely qualified in every aspect of identifying, recruiting and placement of all hospitality positions. To learn more, please visit

About Alan Massarsky:
Alan Massarsky, President and Founder of Marshall-Alan Associates, specializes in retained and contingency search for top-tier and senior management professionals in all areas of hospitality management. With more than 30 years of experience in hospitality search, he is responsible for identifying, recruiting and negotiating of both key individuals and entire management teams for an international clientele which includes many of the most prestigious and innovative hospitality organizations.

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