Cuba Ventures announced yesterday that Travelucion Media is adding more than 4,000 Cuban private residences (Casas Particulares) and bed & breakfasts (B&B’s) to its network of Cuba focused websites and booking platforms.
With the addition of these new listings to the current 150 listings, the Company will have one of the largest listings databases of private residences and B&B’s on the Caribbean island.
Cuba Ventures is one of the first and only publically traded companies in North America investing in Cuba’s unique growth opportunities. Travelucion Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, is an online travel and digital media company that specializes in travel marketing, electronic reservations and online booking solutions for international visitors to Cuba through its 432 Cuba-centric websites in five languages which have been promoting Cuba worldwide for almost two decades.
Steve Marshall, President of Travelucion Media, says, “This is a significant development for the Company as it continues to execute on its growth strategy in the multi-billion dollar Cuba travel industry. With limited hotel beds on the island, the increasingly popular private residences and B&B’s offer travelers places to stay and a unique way for them to interact with the Cuban People and Cuban culture. With the addition of over 4,000 listings to our current database of 150, Cuba Ventures and Travelucion will hold one of the largest and most diverse databases of these listings while leveraging our unmatched, organic online traffic to fill these residences.”
The 54 year old U.S. trade embargo, including a tourist travel ban the U.S. has placed on Cuba, restricts the vast majority of American corporations and travelers from doing business with or visiting Cuba. However, recently there has been a growing number of Americans traveling to Cuba with the notable relaxation of travel restrictions allowing Americans to qualify for one of 12 categories for non-touristic travel, permitted under the general license criteria. There are also a select few American corporations that have obtained special licenses, through the U.S. Treasury Department, that allow them to operate in Cuba but these, in the Company’s view, are more symbolic in nature and likely illustrate the building of momentum for the U.S. Congress to ultimately consider lifting the trade embargo in the future.
Last week, U.S. President Obama and a number of U.S. companies visited Cuba as the first of a handful of American companies now allowed to operate in Cuba in over 50 years. President Obama has been instrumental in instigating closer links between select American companies and Cuba, and some of these recent developments complement Travelucion Media’s rapidly growing business in Cuba.
Travelucion’s private residence and bed & breakfast (B&B) division welcomes the American company Stripe. Stripe will allow Cuban entrepreneurs and B&B owners to incorporate U.S. businesses, obtain U.S. bank accounts and set up a U.S. Stripe account to receive payments. Travelucion sees this as a major step towards streamlining its payments to Cuban private residence and B&B owners, allowing them to obtain direct payments in the United States for stays by U.S. and international visitors to Cuba. The surge in private residence and B&B requests at Travelucion has led the company to accelerate the inclusion of these +4000 nationwide listings across its proprietary booking platform. Cuba Ventures and Travelucion will now control one of the largest listings databases of this type for Cuba and will offer the owners of these private homes and B&B’s exposure to the Company’s Cuba-centric organic internet traffic consisting of over 30 million annual page views.
To gauge the market, Travelucion initiated a beta test program over the last few years for private residence and B&B sales in conjunction with hotel room sales across 78 of its websites. This test phase successfully demonstrated the growing demand for private residences and B&B’s resulting in the company deciding to expedite the incorporation of additional listings. Of the over 4,000 listings being added to Travelucion’s database and websites, 200 listings of properties in and around Havana are being added immediately with the remaining listings being included over the remainder of the year. These are all in addition to Travelucion’s current 150 private residence and B&B listings active on the websites.
Unlike most other travel suppliers for the Cuban market, visitors to Travelucion’s 432 Cuba related websites and e-commerce booking sites will be able to complement their private residence and B&B bookings by adding other services such as car rentals, tours, excursions, airport transfers and other local services into their customized online shopping carts and make payment for the entire package and stay. The company offers travelers to Cuba a one-stop-shop booking system to enhance customer convenience with availability of almost all locally required vacation complements under a single booking process.
Cuba Ventures Corp. has acquired Travelucion Media, now a wholly owned subsidiary. Travelucion Media is an online travel digital media company that specializes in travel marketing, electronic reservations and online booking solutions for international visitors to Cuba. Travelucion Media owns one of the most significant portfolios of Cuban focused web assets, through 432 sites in five languages, which collectively generate over 30 million page-views per year and direct traffic to the main Travelucion booking site www.Havanatur.com .