Canadians continue to flock to Cuba, more so than ever now that the destination has opened its doors to the U.S. Wanting to visit before the influx of American tourists, Canucks are making Cuba a top travel priority in 2016, and waiting for them with open arms is IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts. We ask Luis Jiménez Ayala, Commercial Director & Marketing, how the company sets itself apart from the competition and what agents should know about its Cuba properties.
1) How many hotels are in the IBEROSTAR portfolio, and of that total how many are in Cuba?
IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts is a resort hotel chain based in Palma de Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain), founded by the Fluxà family in 1986. IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts is an integral part of GRUPO IBEROSTAR, one of the main Spanish tourist companies with over 80 years of experience, which currently has more than 100 hotels of 4 and 5 stars in 16 countries around the world.
IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts sees out 2016 with a new opening, further proof of the company’s commitment to Cuba, a key destination where it has already another 11 establishments.
2) Why is Cuba such an important market for IBEROSTAR?
With the opening of the IBEROSTAR Playa Pilar, Cayo Guillermo last December and the new IBEROSTAR Bella Vista next summer, our aim is to further consolidate our commitment to Cuba as one of our key tourist destinations. We have been operating in this country since 1998 with highly positive results, and we are therefore delighted to be adding new establishments that will enable us to continue growing in this market and supporting the local tourism industry as it tackles new challenges.
3) How does the IBEROSTAR brand differ from other major hotel brands in Cuba?
Our clients give us the feedback why they have chosen our hotels, and I think there are five pillars that consumers recognize in us:
- Quality of service with personalized attention to each detail
- Fine dining and a variety of restaurant options with an exquisite gastronomy of local and international cuisine
- Diversified entertainment and activity program with spectacular shows conceived by our Star Friends Team
- Hotel décor featuring local and international art
- Location on the best beaches at each destination or in the downtown core of emblematic cities
4) What do you want Canadian travel agents to know about IBEROSTAR Cuba?
We are very pleased to know that we count with the support of the trade community. Guests are important to us as are travel agents. When selling our hotels, they should feel confident that they will have satisfied clients. If there is any particular need or request the clients have, we will always be glad to know so that we can offer this service on behalf of the travel agent. We work with all major Canadian tour operators and we encourage agents to check the specials and promotions for our hotels. They should also contact our representatives for travel agent rates and availabilities for hotel visits. They are always welcome.
5) What’s new for the brand in 2016?
We’ve already opened a new hotel, IBEROSTAR Playa Pilar, an exclusive five-star resort, Premium Gold with 482 rooms situated on Cayo Guillermo in the Jardines del Rey archipelago. Facilities include five swimming pools (one for the kids and one in the Spa area), four specialized restaurants and one main buffet with show cooking, a nautical point with boat hire, and an exclusive natural swimming pool with immediate access to the coastline. This hotel is ideal for family holidays – it has a waterpark for the little ones and a wide variety of entertainment options.
In 2016, we are going to have a new star in Cuba – the IBEROSTAR Bella Vista, also a five-star resort, Premium Gold with 827 rooms located in Varadero. Ideal for families, it will have two room sections for families and adults.
In addition, we have an important expansionist policy in the next three years all over the country, in different provinces such as Varadero, Holguin, Cienfuegos and Havana. So we keep counting on you to let us know your needs.