American travelers keep asking, “are we still able to travel to Cuba?” The answer is definitively yes. But if you’re wondering how, here’s what you need to know about travel to Cuba.
In November, the Trump administration tightened travel and commercial ties to Cuba, part of its effort to roll back former President Barack Obama’s historic opening with Havana. The new rules came nearly five months after President Trump announced he would reverse Obama-era policies that loosened the decades-long trade embargo against the communist island.
The new restrictions impact primarily individual travelers. Yes, you can still hire a tour company and join a guided tour that ensures you meet all the requirements and fulfill the full time schedule of activities they require. But what about individual travelers, hostelers, or adventurous people who want to support the humanitarian vision for Cuba, while still traveling in their own independent way? Under new Treasury Department rules, individual “people-to-people” trips — which have enabled individual American travelers to visit Cuba for educational purposes on their own as opposed to with a tour group — have been eliminated. This elimination has had obvious repercussions for companies like Airbnb which famously cater to individual travelers.
But, Instant World Booking has now entered the Cuban market, and is offering a fresh alternative to Airbnb and other services for accommodation at unique and individual Cuban small hotels and casa particulares. The lawmakers have assured that individual travelers are still able to visit the island if it’s in support of the Cuban people. While little-known to American travelers today, this assurance is actually written into the law.
Here’s how you, as an individual traveler, may still lawfully visit Cuba today. One of the approved reasons for traveling to Cuba is called “Support for the Cuban people”. Under this travel category, you engage in activities that result in meaningful interaction with individuals in Cuba. This now includes such activities as renting a room in a private Cuban residence (casa particular), eating at privately owned Cuban restaurants (paladares), and shopping at privately owned stores run by self-employed Cubans (cuentapropistas). So, renting one of the many private accommodations now available from Instant World Booking can help facilitate the trip to Cuba you are hoping to make. But remember, in order to meet the requirement for a full-time schedule, you must also engage in additional authorized Support for the Cuban People activities. We suggest you check out the actual requirements at one of these two official sources:
Better yet, do you need to get some sort of license or authorization from the US government? No. As an American traveler to Cuba, you can start planning your trip today. It’s called a general license, and as long as you conform to the activities and requirements outlined in the above sources, your trip is permitted. But, we suggest you read the rules thoroughly. You’ll need to keep some records regarding your schedule and trip. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring your travel is in compliance with the regulations.
To celebrate our commitment to travel in Cuba, we have introduced a new website www.cubainstantbooking.com, featuring a vast set of options for accommodation in Cuba. This site joins the over 100+ other sites in our proprietary network of hotels, hostels, and apartments worldwide. In addition, we are beginning to work with both US and Cuban groups to facilitate accommodation of official travel groups within our network of private lodgings in Cuba.
We hope you are inspired by this article, and will perhaps consider a trip to Cuba in the near future. Remember that your presence can help support civil society in Cuba, and promote the Cuban people’s independence. Please feel free to contact Instant World Booking with any questions you may have.
#IWBMob now enables you to engage your customers on Facebook, directly from your IWB profile page.
A few weeks ago, we announced the introduction of IWB’s new mobile website, called IWBmob. The next phase of this re-branding is now underway. It is a mobile-first design. As an Instant World Bookinghotel/hostel/B&B partner, your profile page, and the entire booking process, has already been redesigned. The impact so far has been remarkable. For users of our new booking engine, the experience surpasses almost any modern booking site available today.
In our last announcement, we promised to introduce some innovative methods of integrating your experience with Facebook and IWB. These are brand new innovations that have not yet been used by other booking services. Now, you and your customers can start a Facebook conversation, directly from your profile page on IWB. This is an innovative method of integrating social media with your booking media. Just post the URL of your IWB profile on your Facebook page, inviting your customers to comment and join the conversation. Then, go to the IWB profile, and begin the conversation by directly posting your Facebook comments there. For more specific instructions, continue reading below.
Why is this important?
Worldwide, there are over 2.01 billion monthly active Facebook users as of 2017. If you think Facebook has peaked, consider that this number has grown 17% since last year. With 2.01 billion, Facebook has more monthly active users than WhatsApp, Twitter, and Instagram combined (Source: CNBC). For hotels, hostels, and accommodation, Facebook is very important. It’s so important that Facebook has introduced an API called Dynamic Ads for Travel, specifically for hotels. So, this means that Facebook is a very important audience for you, one that you can’t ignore. You should consider how to increase your involvement in this platform.
This is where Instant World Booking enters. We give you a creative and effective way to increase your engagement on Facebook. There’s no cost. See the instructions below. If you are interested in other ways of advertising on Facebook, or just need help setting up or maintaining an active social media presence, we are now offering these services to our partners. Just contact us for help.
Instructions: How to interact with Facebook on your IWB profile page
Copy the URL of your profile page (assuming you’re a hotel/hostel member of IWB).
Post the URL on your Facebook page. Add a comment like, ‘Dear customers, friends, and fans, we’re partnering with Instant World Booking to start a conversation on Facebook. Please go to this page, and post your best photos of our hotel, share your experiences, and enjoy some dialogue. Let us know what you think.’
Go directly to the IWB profile page. Post the same comment there, perhaps with a new photo that you want to share.
Then, sit back and watch the comments come. When you engage properly with your audience, a lively conversation, with photos, is one of the best ways to increase your popularity on Facebook.
There’s a bonus. Any comments that are shared this way have the possibility of appearing automatically on your Facebook page, your IWB profile page, and IWB’s Facebook page. So, your exposure is tripled.
Don’t forget your Book Now button on Facebook
The most valuable feature you can use on your Facebook page is a Book Now button. This is a feature of Facebook that enables your social media followers to book instantly with you. If you know how this works, just add the URL included in our instructions above (#1) as the target of your button. If you have a custom booking engine with IWB, use that URL. If you need help with this important Facebook feature, we can guide you, or install it for you. Please look for our future emails and blogs, since we will be sharing more ways and instructions to get the most out of your social media Blog – Hotel and Hostel Marketing Experts
#IWBMob ahora le permite involucrar a sus clientes en Facebook, directamente desde su página de perfil de IWB.
Hace unas semanas, anunciamos la introducción del nuevo sitio web móvil de IWB, llamado IWBmob. La próxima fase de esta re-marca está en marcha. Es un diseño móvil primero. Su página de perfil, y todo el proceso de reserva, ya ha sido rediseñado. El impacto hasta ahora ha sido notable. Para los usuarios de nuestro nuevo motor de reservas, la experiencia supera prácticamente cualquier sitio de reservas moderno disponible hoy.
En nuestro último anuncio, prometimos introducir algunos métodos innovadores de integración de su experiencia con Facebook y IWB. Se trata de innovaciones nuevas que aún no han sido utilizadas por otros servicios de reserva. Ahora, usted y sus clientes pueden iniciar una conversación en Facebook directamente desde su página de perfil en IWB. Se trata de un método innovador de integración de medios sociales con sus medios de reserva. Simplemente publique la URL de su perfil de IWB en su página de Facebook, invitando a sus clientes a comentar y unirse a la conversación. A continuación, vaya al perfil de IWB y comience la conversación publicando directamente sus comentarios de Facebook allí. Para obtener instrucciones más específicas, continúe leyendo a continuación.
¿Porque es esto importante?
En todo el mundo, hay más de 2.01 mil millones de usuarios activos de Facebook a partir de 2017. Si usted piensa que Facebook ha alcanzado su punto máximo, considere que este número ha crecido un 17% desde el año pasado. Con 2.01 mil millones, Facebook tiene más usuarios activos mensuales que WhatsApp, Twitter y Instagram combinados (Fuente: CNBC). Para hoteles, albergues y alojamientos, Facebook es muy importante. Es tan importante que Facebook haya introducido una API llamada Dynamic Ads for Travel, específicamente para hoteles. Por lo tanto, esto significa que Facebook es una audiencia muy importante para usted, una que usted no puede ignorar. Usted debe considerar cómo aumentar su participación en esta plataforma.
Aquí es donde entra Instant World Booking. Le ofrecemos una manera creativa y efectiva de aumentar su participación en Facebook. No hay costo. Vea las instrucciones a continuación. Si está interesado en otras formas de publicidad en Facebook, o simplemente necesita ayuda para configurar o mantener una presencia activa de medios sociales, ahora estamos ofreciendo estos servicios a nuestros socios. Sólo póngase en contacto con nosotros para obtener ayuda.
Instrucciones: Cómo interactuar con Facebook en su página de perfil de IWB
Copie la URL de su página de perfil.
Publique la URL en su página de Facebook. Agregue un comentario como, “Queridos clientes, amigos y fans, nos estamos asociando con Instant World Booking para iniciar una conversación en Facebook. Por favor, vaya a esta página, y publique sus mejores fotos de nuestro hotel, comparta sus experiencias y disfrute de algún diálogo. Háganos saber lo que piensas.’
Vaya directamente a la página de perfil de IWB. Publicar el mismo comentario allí, tal vez con una nueva foto que desea compartir.
Luego, siéntese y observe los comentarios. Cuando te involucras correctamente con tu público, una conversación animada, con fotos, es una de las mejores maneras de aumentar tu popularidad en Facebook.
Hay un bono. Los comentarios que se comparten de esta manera tienen la posibilidad de aparecer automáticamente en su página de Facebook, su página de perfil de IWB y la página de Facebook de IWB. Por lo tanto, su exposición se triplica.
No se olvide de su botón “Reservar ahora” en Facebook
La característica más valiosa que puedes usar en tu página de Facebook es el botón Reservar ahora. Esta es una característica de Facebook que permite a tus seguidores de redes sociales reservar al instante contigo. Si sabe cómo funciona esto, simplemente añada la URL incluida en nuestras instrucciones anteriores (# 1) como el objetivo de su botón. Si tiene un motor de reservas personalizado con IWB, utilice esa URL. Si necesita ayuda con esta importante función de Facebook, le podemos guiar o instalarla para usted. Por favor, busque nuestros futuros correos electrónicos y blogs, ya que estaremos compartiendo más formas e instrucciones para sacar el máximo provecho de sus redes sociales Blog – Especialistas en Hostelería y Hostelería
We recently announced the introduction of IWB’S new mobile website, dubbed IWBmob. The first phase of this re-branding has just been released. It is a mobile-first design. This means that your profile page, and the entire booking process, has been redesigned. And it’s nothing short of revolutionary. Our new design features leading edge mobile aesthetics, and an ultra-responsive, streamlined user experience. For users of our new booking engine, the experience will surpass almost any modern booking site available today.
What does mobile-first mean?
Mobile-first means that our site will respond flexibly to all types of computers and devices, with an emphasis on mobile users. After all, more than 25% of worldwide travel bookings are made on mobile devices. And, mobile bookings are increasing at a rate of 20% or more each year in some countries. But, this also means that our website, and your property information, will be equally beautiful and functional on all computers. In the coming weeks, additional phases of our IWBmob re-branding will be visible across our entire website.
One thing to consider when selecting your primary booking engine is this. Have you gone through the booking process on multiple different mobile devices such as an iPhone, an Android phone, and a tablet? Are the email confirmations that your guests receive equally mobile-friendly? Instant World Booking has this all covered for you.
We invite you to check out your new profile pages (including up to 15 translated pages for each property that we’ve always offered). We think you’ll agree that it works better on mobile devices, and is more straightforward and easy for users, than most other booking sites.
Here are some of best profiles we’ve seen. We recommend you check them out for ideas. Remember, add your best photos!
As an added bonus, we will soon introduce some innovative methods of integrating your IWB experience with Facebook and other social media. These are brand new innovations that are currently not used by any other booking service. Look for future announcements to learn how to take advantage of these innovations.
Nuestro nuevo diseño de sitio web para móviles está aquí.
Recientemente anunciamos la introducción del nuevo sitio web móvil de IWB, llamado IWBmob. La primera fase de este re-branding acaba de ser lanzado. Es un diseño móvil primero. Esto significa que se ha rediseñado su página de perfil y todo el proceso de reserva. Y no es nada menos que revolucionario. Nuestro nuevo diseño cuenta con una estética móvil de vanguardia y una experiencia de usuario optimizada y flexible. Para los usuarios de nuestro nuevo motor de reservas, la experiencia superará prácticamente cualquier sitio de reservas moderno disponible hoy.
¿Qué significa móvil primero?
Mobile-first significa que nuestro sitio responderá con flexibilidad a todo tipo de computadoras y dispositivos, con énfasis en los usuarios móviles. Después de todo, más del 25% de las reservas de viajes en todo el mundo se realizan en dispositivos móviles. Y, en algunos países, las reservas móviles aumentan a un ritmo del 20% o más cada año. Pero, esto también significa que nuestro sitio web, y su información de propiedad, será igualmente hermosa y funcional en todas las computadoras. En las próximas semanas, las fases adicionales de nuestra nueva marca IWBmob serán visibles en todo nuestro sitio web.
Una cosa a considerar al seleccionar su motor de reserva principal es esta. ¿Ha realizado el proceso de reserva en varios dispositivos móviles diferentes, como un iPhone, un teléfono Android y una tableta? ¿Son las confirmaciones por correo electrónico de que sus invitados reciben igualdad de movilidad? Instant World Booking tiene todo esto cubierto para usted.
Te invitamos a consultar tus nuevas páginas de perfil (incluyendo hasta 15 páginas traducidas para cada propiedad que siempre hemos ofrecido). Creemos que estarás de acuerdo en que funciona mejor en dispositivos móviles y es más sencillo y fácil para los usuarios que la mayoría de los otros sitios de reservas.
Para la comparación, aquí están algunos de los mejores perfiles que hemos visto. Le recomendamos que los revise para obtener ideas. Recuerde, agregue sus mejores fotos!
Como una ventaja añadida, pronto introduciremos algunos métodos innovadores de integrar tu experiencia de IWB con Facebook y otras redes sociales. Se trata de innovaciones completamente nuevas que actualmente no son utilizadas por ningún otro servicio de reservas. Busque anuncios futuros para aprender a aprovechar estas innovaciones.
Want to gain a huge advantage in channel management? Learn how IWB makes MyAllocator better.
IWB has partnered with MyAllocator for years, offering one of the best solutions for channel management and property management. Because of our unique partnership, there are benefits only available to properties that become users of MyAllocator from the IWB interface. In fact, these benefits are unique to IWB users.
Will you have access to the full MyAllocator interface? Yes. And best of all, there’s no additional cost. You just add IWB as your property management system in the MyAllocator system.
Major Benefits of using MyAllocator with IWB:
Sign up for MyAllocator from the IWB interface, and get a free trial.
IWB will automatically create and configure your rooms on MyAllocator.
Use the IWB Calendar for free. Many users agree that our Calendar interface is the most intuitive and advanced for managing your availability. It’s free, and similar features are available only at a cost from other providers.
Instant World Booking is the only service connected to MyAllocator which offers both a booking site (distribution) and a property management system.
IWB gives you access to the full MyAllocator interface. It’s all available on the IWB interface, and there’s no need to log into 2 systems simultaneously.
All your reservations from all channels will appear on one integrated booking list. This is the same efficient reservation tool you’re already accustomed to on the IWB interface.
IWB uses an advanced queueing method to send updates to your channels via MyAllocator. IWB is the only provider that works this way. So why is this critically important? If you use MyAllocator alone (without IWB), updates are sent immediately and only once to your channels. But, what happens if the update fails, or a particular channel can’t accept updates at that time? You may not know that it failed. This happens frequently, and is an unpleasant reality with channel management systems. You waste a lot of time returning to your computer to repeat the procedure manually, only to watch it fail again? IWB eliminates this problem for you. If a channel rejects an update, IWB will resend the update until it is accepted.
No more confusing error codes. IWB analyzes channel errors from MyAllocator. We notify you when a channel failure requires your attention. If you use MyAllocator alone (without IWB) you may receive error codes when you try to update a channel. You have to research the error yourself, or contact support. IWB eliminates the guesswork. We communicate the exactly problem to you, and which rooms are effected.
Click to synchronize any room type. If you have a problem with external channels or an individual room, IWB allows you to resynchronize one or all rooms with one click. MyAllocator does not offer this functionality. In fact, a bigger problem is that full refresh on MyAllocator may fail occasionally with some channels. Our method will automatically reconnect in the background until all channels have accepted the update.
You get perfect integration between your website’s Booking Engine and all your channels. Use IWB’s Booking Engine on your website, and never worry about synchronizing your calendar with external booking sites. Our Booking Engine is an advanced solution that provides a superior customer experience.
If you’re looking for a more advanced property management solution, you can try IWBFrontDesk 2, So, you have 2 options for a property management system, and it’s perfectly integrated with MyAllocator and IWB.
To get started, please log into your profile at the IWB interface. Proceed to the page entitled Channel Manager. If you are not already a member, sign up here: Add Property
If you are already a member of MyAllocator, please go to the MyAllocator interface. On the menu, select Property Management System Connections. Follow the instructions to select IWB.
New for 2016, Instant World Booking offers the guaranteed lowest cost versus any competing solution. So, now is the time to switch. Shop around, then come to Instant World Booking.
Try it today with no contracts, no obligation.
Instant World Booking has the lowest price, guaranteed. No exceptions. Just contact us for a personalized price quote. If we can’t reduce your current cost, you get our booking engine free for a year.
This offer is a virtual “game-changer”! IWB’s Booking Engine is fully integrated with IWB Front Desk 2.0 and IWB Channel Manager (see below for more information). In fact, Instant World Booking now offers more service and payment options than any other provider. So why not switch now?
Instant World Booking now specializes in hostel website Booking Engine replacement. This is because we offer a solution that is not only cheaper, but provides a much enhanced user experience for visitors of your website. This is what enabled us to recently replace the Booking Engine program for one of the largest private chains of small hotels in the US and Europe. Our payment options are also much more flexible than any competitor. For a real life example of how it works, please see: http://www.ihspfrenchquarterhouse.com/
IWB Channel Manager
now updates Booking.com, Expedia, and over 150+ booking sitesManage hundreds of booking sites from a single calendar.
See all your reservations in one place … Booking.com, Expedia, HostelWorld, Travelocity, Orbitz, and dozens more.
Bonus: Free listing on the GDS … access over 450,000 travel agency sites worldwide.
Manage your calendar on all your booking channels from just one source.
Additionally, all booking sites will automatically be updated every time you receive a reservation. Here’s how it works. Whenever you receive a booking on any channel or website (e.g., HostelWorld, Booking.com, Expedia, etc.), your availability calendar is immediately updated on all connected sites. Over 150 booking sites are available. Even update all your calendars when you receive a reservation from your own website (IWB Booking Engine required).
More than 150 booking sites, plus the GDS, all included
Free signup for IDS/GDS sites, reaching 450,000 travel agents worldwide
All major hostelling sites included, HostelWorld.com, Hostelbookers, etc.
Incredible savings of time and money by updating your calendar only once
Automatic updates for incoming reservations
IWB Front Desk 2.0
Free Trial!IWBFrontDesk.com is a property management system (PMS) that will save you money. Enhance your front desk operations by managing your reservations, guest communication and other functions more efficiently.
Get 1 Month Free. Just enter Promo Code TRYIWB4FREE to begin your free trial.
It’s nice getting things for free, especially when everyone else is paying. Now you can try our advanced property management system for 30 days at no cost. You get all the features. This is not a limited version.
Want to save money?
After your 30 day trial is over, you’ll really like our prices. That’s because IWBFrontDesk is 40% – 85% cheaper than many comparable property management systems. But don’t worry. There’s no contracts or commitments, you can purchase just one month at a time, so there’s no reason not to try it today.
Technology should make your life easier and cheaper. Now, that’s something to be happy about. IWBFrontDesk is a property management system (PMS) that offers all the tools you need to manage your front desk. It’s the perfect solution for hotels, hostels, and bed & breakfasts of all sizes.
Would you like to automatically update all your booking sites every time you receive a reservation? Do you want to update sites like Booking.com, Expedia, Hostelworld, and hundreds more from one single calendar?
Now you can. IWB Channel Manager offers this valuable capability. Don’t underestimate the power and value of this feature until you’ve tried it.
Here’s how it works:
You manage your calendar of availability from our simple interface. All your booking sites are updated automatically whenever you change your prices or availability. Over 150 booking sites are available, including the most popular ones worldwide (e.g., Booking.com, Expedia, Orbitz, HostelWorld, Travelocity, etc.). Have no more worries about maintaining multiple calendars.
Unlike many other services, there’s another incredible benefit. Imagine this. Whenever you receive a booking on any channel or website, your availability is immediately updated on all connected sites. All your calendars will even be updated when you receive a reservation on your own website (with IWB Booking engine). This feature can save hours of work every week.
Get started today with Channel Manager at prices as low as $14 per month. Get 4 months free when you sign up for a year. Purchase just one month at a time to get started, so there’s nothing to lose by trying it.
We encourage you to try our new IWB Booking Engine plugin code. This new plugin allows you to insert a Booking Engine Search Bar on your webpage. Instructions for this plugin are not currently found on our website. This new method utilizes the same AJAX scripting methods used by Google and Facebook for their analytics and social plugins. The advantage is that your booking engine code is integrated directly within your webpage (i.e., browser problems associated with frames or other incompatible code are eliminated). So, you have total control over the content on your webpage, and the user experience is greatly enhanced. This new plugin also features improved personalization options, allowing you to switch variables to modify the color and orientation of your Booking Engine Search Bar.
We encourage you to try our new Booking Engine Search Bar. Simply drop it into your webpage. It’s easy to modify the variables to achieve a different look and feel for your website.
Free Trial! IWB Front DeskTry it today with no obligation.
IWB Front Desk 2.0 is a full-featured property management system for your accommodation business. Excellent for hotels, bed & breakfasts, and hostels
Try it today with no obligation.
IWBFrontDesk now has the features you want, the tools you need, plus a clean and simple interface that is intuitive to use. You will find it easy to explore and learn all the features you want in a very short time. And, our full customer support is available for all your service needs. Get your Free Trial?
Savings of 40% to 85%
IWBFrontDesk is significantly cheaper than many popular property management systems (front desk software). Compare now? Learn More?Questions?
ONE Calendar, Many Booking Sites
Manage up to 150 booking sites from a single calendar.
See all your reservations in one place … Booking.com, Expedia, HostelWorld, Agoda, Orbitz, and dozens more.
Get IWB Channel Manager today. Manage your calendar of availability once, and you’re done. All booking sites are automatically updated for every reservation you receive. Here’s how it works. Whenever you receive a booking on any channel or website (e.g., HostelWorld, Booking.com, Expedia, etc.), your availability calendar is immediately updated on all connected sites. See all your reservations across all sites on one simple interface. The time savings is incredible. Get IWB Channel Manager?Questions?
Your savings are also incredible:
Less than $14 per month
More than 150 booking sites, plus the GDS, all included
Free signup for IDS/GDS sites, reaching 450,000 travel agents worldwide
All major hostelling sites included, HostelWorld.com, Hostelbookers, etc.
Incredible savings of time and money by updating your calendar only once
We are pleased to announce that Rez:Online Hotel Network now connects to Instant World Booking. This means that any hotel listed with Rez:Online Hotel Network can manage their calendars just once, and their availability will automatically be updated on Instant World Booking’s (and HostelTraveler’s) network.
Rez:Online Hotel Network is an excellent tool for managing the front desk operations of hotels and other accommodation. In times when reservations decrease and distribution becomes more and more complex around the world, the hotel industry needs reliable partners with whom they can maximize their effectiveness and bookings at good conditions. Rez:Online Hotel Network offers reservation systems that seek to meet these goals.
We are pleased to announce that ProturHotels now connects to Instant World Booking. This means that any hotel listed with ProturHotels can manage their calendars just once, and their availability will automatically be updated on Instant World Booking’s network.
Protur Hotels has been organizing holidays in Majorca since 1985. At the moment we Protur has more than 11,000 beds situated in some of the most attractive beaches and places on the island – Cala Bona, Cala Millor, Cala Rajada, Canyamel and Sa Coma.
Establishments geared to satisfying the diverse needs of clients but with the stamp that makes their hotels different.