Each year Cuba receive lot of tourists in different popular destinations like Varadero, Habana, Santa Clara, and other cities. Some guests arrive for the first to Cuba and decide to stay in a Hotel because they don’t know the advantages to rent out a house or a room, some guests without previous planning arrive to their destination and star looking for a place to stay and others plan in advance and look for an online reservation in specialized reservation websites like vararent.
Making online rent house reservation for Cuba rent houses could be a very successful experience or a very disappointing one, depending on your comprehension of the Cuban's context, the careful selection of the website you're using for your reservation and the rent house owners by itself.
After a while offering online rent houses accommodation in Varadero and interacting with clients and rent house owners, we've made a couple of improvements to Vararent website and we expand it to other destinations like Santa Clara, Habana, Viñales, Trinidad and other cities, and also we've learn a couple of lessons useful to people willing to make a reservation online. We're sharing these tips and suggestions here to help you make a successful online rent house reservation next time you will be visiting any destination in Cuba.
This is a guide with updated content from the previous Tips and Tricks for a Successful Varadero Rent House Reservation guide.
Understand the Cuban context
It's very important to understand the characteristics of Cuba before traveling but more important: before making your reservation online. It should be known the difficulties for Cuban people to access Internet, we wrote a few words about this in the Calls Mobile and Internet in Cuba guide.
Certain web sites like vararent help in this direction by providing rent house visitors and owners a way to communicate directly and arrange a reservation online. The internet connection time is expensive and limited so the responsiveness of any reservation website could be slower than in any other country.
Most of the business in the island is made face-to-face or using the telephone, for example when we receive a reservation, due to the inability of the rent house owners to access internet, we have to call them by phone and visit them personally to arrange the reservation for the guest.
Ecommerce is very low in Cuba, and accepting online payment is not an option for rent house owners. Again: certain websites like vararent come to help by providing guests a trusted way to receive online payments to transfer the funds to the owners of rent houses directly.
Plan in advance
The first advice to anyone willing to reserve online is to plan in advance. Some reservations in certain time of the year can be made with few days in advance but in peak seasons could be hard to find a house available. There are two peak seasons in Cuba: the summer and the winter.
In months of June, July and August the national tourism travel around the country. Lots of people who have emigrated from Cuba come back for visiting their families in those months and they always want to go on vacations, usually to places like Varadero and Habana and other cities. During this time our staff becomes crazy trying to locate a rent house for people who contact one week early, because most of the houses are full or the house available days are not in the timespan the guest has available and that's a problem for everybody.
The same situation happens in winter; in months of December, January, February and March, international tourism arrives. Usually these kinds of tourists make reservations quite early and we don't face too much trouble like in summer.
Making your reservation 3 months earlier or so, is an average time enough to locate a nice rent house, explore the options and take a decision, pay the retainer, talk with the rent house owners and move any date that should be moved. Keep that in mind when making your reservation. But if you ever comes to one of the popular destination in Cuba the same day and doesn't have a previous reservation, contact us we may have an overnight reservation.
Select the right rent house
It's very important to pick the rent house of your choice. Making an earlier reservation will allow you plenty of time to pick the house of your choice, ask any question or clarify any issue. Be sure you explore all listed rent houses in Varadero, rent houses in Habana, rent houses in Santa Clara, rent houses in Viñales, rent houses in Trinidad or any other popular destination in Cuba and read the description and all other information.
The following questions may help you to check if you're getting all possible information:
- Is the listed price good for me?
- Does the rent house have enough bedrooms or beds for my occupancy needs?
- Do they have full equipped kitchen?
- Do they have a garage? How far from some x place is the house?
- Are the pictures good enough?
We try to keep up to date information for all rent houses. However we receive lots of questions asking for information that it's already in the description, but it doesn't matters, we're happy to answer. The photos of the rent houses are 100% accurate, most of them were taken by our travel agents and the others were submitted by the rent house owner himself.
So, review all the information and photos, remember you can ask us any question related to the rent house you want, you can use the booking form or email us directly at email@example.com. Once you have all the info and questions answered, proceed to make your reservation.
Consult availability and make your reservation
Many people wonder why we don't have availability information listed in the website. That's an interesting question and if you understood the Cuban context you may already know why: it's very difficult for rent house owners to keep an updated availability calendar online. But you need to know the availability!
Is the rent house available for the dates you need? Just fill the booking form at a side of the rent house photo gallery and summary, for example see the booking form for Enrique and Magda Rent House. In this form we gather certain information we need in order to check availability. The most important are your arrival dates of course, but also the bedrooms and number of guests to check if the rent house can hold this occupancy needs.
After making the reservation a human travel agent will reply you with availability information or any other answer or question. It's mandatory to understand how our rent house reservation process works so you know what to expect in every time.
Our process of checking availability is manual and requires phone calls, and personal visit to the house so please, be considered and request availability only if you're truly interested in renting the house and the house pleased you. Note we provide this service to you at no cost and we try to provide an excellent accommodation service.
Keep constant communication
After making your contact we try to be in touch with you all the time. One problem we've faced too many times is that guests contact us but after our response they either take too much time to respond, or not respond at all. Having a constant communication is crucial for a successful rent house reservation. Please note that if the rent house do is available, and you delay in your response, that availability may change without notice because your reservation is not confirmed by requesting availability.
We ask for your phone in the booking form, that's important because we call you back to your country to ask any question, or to reach you if you're not responding emails. The phone call is expensive, that's why you should contact if you have the firm intention to make your Cuba rent house reservation.
Make a proof of your arrival
As explained in the Cuba rent houses rules and code of honor we face many problems for guests not arriving, and the house owner losing money because they rejected other people for the supposed confirmed dates etc., so we've created the online equivalent of the first day retainer technique, widely used among Cuba Rent House owners.
This technique is explained in the guide Ensuring your reservation: pay the first day retainer or not?, it consists of paying the amount of the first day of the reservation as a retainer for proofing you will arrive that day. This retainer is required for all rent houses listed in Vararent.
If you decide not to pay the first day retainer (bad choice), then please, avoid making actions that will make the rent house owner nervous to drop your reservation, for example don't change your arrival date. Remember to keep constant communication with the rent house owner to keep him committed to your reservation. But again: the only way to ensure 100% the reservation is by paying the retainer.
Call your travel agent and the rent house owners by phone
As explained above, since all business in rent houses in Cuba are conducted verbally, face-to-face and by phone, it's absolutely important to call the rent house owners. When reserving through us we make it all the time, we constantly call them by phone to check availability and pass all the details of the reservation back to them and to you.
If you could call us or they directly that will be a "calm down" pill for everybody and it's a trusted action from your side that you're very interested in the reservation. We know calling Cuba could be expensive, and we have the option to call you back at no cost for you to help you reduce costs on your reservation. But make the effort and give us a call!
- Plan in advance, usually 3 month earlier, at least one week earlier.
- Explore all houses, pay attention to description and details, and ask us any question.
- Consult availability by filling the booing form, don't get anxious, wait for the travel agent to respond.
- Ask for availability only if you have the true intention of booking the house.
- Provide your phone number so we can call you.
- Verify you are using the right email address so we can reach you by email also.
- Pay the first day retainer as a proof of your arrival to ensure your reservation 100%
- If not paying the retainer, avoid actions indicating you will not arrive.
- Try to call us and the rent house owner by phone.