In the renewal of U.S and Cuba’s diplomatic relations, several topics have the opportunity for growth and expansion in Cuba. Travel and trade have been hot topics, especially with the current restrictions that Cuba has in place. This will also be the biggest policy shift between the two countries in over 50 years.
Currently, visitors need to obtain a government issued license along with a valid passport in order to travel to Cuba and are limited on the amount of spending in a day on the island.
With the new regulations U.S. citizens will be allowed to travel for over a dozen reasons without obtaining a special license from the government.Consumers will also be allowed to use credit and debit cards on the island with no limitation on spending.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, about 170,000 authorized U.S. travelers went to Cuba last year, and that amount is expected to grow exponentially over the next year. An increase in tourism will bring growth for new business development and generate more revenue, in general, for the island.
Hotels and lodging
Due to the expected increase in travel, several American websites have had a drastic increase in search volume over the last few months. A couple local sites called Tripping.com and Trivago.com saw increases of over 126% through their search engines. Also, another company that is looking to break into the Cuban market is Airbnb.
Airbnb is reportedly starting operation in Cuba to accommodate the future influx of tourists. The only issue they are anticipating is the limited availability of internet access across the island for Cubans to upload their homes as options for tourists. Current users either use internet cafes or pay for it on their own. Cuba did, however, mention that they plan to open an additional 136 internet centers around the country this year.
Now, not only does this cause opportunity for growth in their internet infrastructure, but also in their lodging properties. Americans under old rules were roughly only allowed to spend$188 dollars on hotels, meals and other incidentals, but that limit will be lifted under new rules.
Hotel maintenance and management
With restrictions in the past on daily spending of consumers, hotel maintenance may have not been a high priority, especially if the cost wasn’t there. With new ties being reinstated with the U.S, this brings forth new economic opportunity to change around the look, feel, and maintenance of several facilities, but specifically hotels.
The hotel industry is already competitive on the surface, so why not start at the core? A strong structure begins with a strong asset management system.
The benefit to an asset management system will help decipher expenses for:
- Energy Costs
- Labor Costs
- Maintenance and Repairs
Once the hotel has the tools to decipher these costs, what are the next steps?
Here are some initial plans for maintenance:
- Develop effective maintenance planning and schedule process
- Estimate accurate times for maintenance activities
- Use a CMMS to help achieve 100 percent completion on maintenance work orders
- Develop an effective plan to maintain a budget
- Record work history of all assets for future training purposes
With the opportunity given for expansion among travel and lodging, this is the time to capitalize and grow businesses to the full potential they were meant to be through best asset and management practices. Businesses will see an influx of returning customers while discovering more about their company than ever before.