(L-R) Marti Aragones, Ed Radonic, Jarold Muino & Ross Rodgers
And they’re off!
Tammy Cecco, Travel Live and Lawrence Elliott, Sunwing
Transat’s Suzanne Diefenbaker Sinking It!
It’s tough being popular. But, even when
competing with other Christmas time events, Melia Cuba commands the attention
of the industry. From agents to wholesalers, all hailed the call and turned up
for their Playdium soiree outside Toronto last
The queen for the night, Brenda Bradley, presided over an eager crowd of
admirers who waited patiently for the games to begin. There was no sword
fighting but bumper cars, car racing, pin balls, flashing lights and bleeping
score signals filled the arena. Fortunately, the only casualties involved
gentle pushing on the way to redeeming prize tickets.
Why all the fuss? As Lord Marti of Aragones put it, Cuba is more than a
little hot right now. Sales are up across the board and have continued despite
the October 30
th price increase. But being a realist, Marti does not
lose his head, adding, “You
always have to take the good times with a bit of caution. This is the travel
industry where anything can happen.” The problem (if too much success can be a
problem) is that, with only 7% of Melia Cuba’s capacity in Havana, there are
not enough rooms to meet the huge demand for the historic city.
According to Brenda “We are extremely pleased with our numbers. There
was such a rush for booking in October, but we see that November is also up
over last year.” Adding that “we are bringing on more properties to meet the
growing market. The Meliá Trinidad in central Cuba is slated to open in 2017
and in 2018 we have 2 very exciting projects opening – the luxury Paradisus is
opening in popular Cayo Santa Maria and in Varadero we are opening a 496 room
Melia Internacional. And because we are seeing such a growth in multi-generational travel,
we are introducing a Family Concierge service at the Paradisus Varadero Hotel
in early 2016.”
Brenda also took the opportunity to decree that with the fame and
fortune afforded by Cuba “there is definitely an opportunity for more lift from
operators”. Operators, take heed.