I'm Cuban, Colombian-American, and I'm very close to the Cuban side of my family, my Dad’s side of the family. He was born in Santa Fe, Havana. My childhood was filled with family tales about Cuba and I grew up knowing that my family had made enormous sacrifices to give me the incredible opportunities I've had in the states.
When commercial flights received approval to fly to Cuba I was excited but nervous to go. I wanted to know that side of my culture and history more deeply, but I also knew my Cuban side was concerned about me going.
Yet I felt confident booking with you all at Airbnb. Having been a customer for 8 years, you’re my go-to. For me, the best part of these trips has always been the kind, genuine, fun people I’ve met from all over the world. My travels have always been a source of inspiration, learning and recharging my creative side.
When I arrived In Havana, I slept next to where the professional ballerinas practiced in a spunky, family-owned BnB. Music from a professional pianist who was warming up the dancers rolled into our rooms … it felt like a movie-perfect moment, but one that I never could have written.
We made incredible memories I’ll remember forever and friends we hope to see again. The music all throughout the island is really phenomenal and now I most definitely know where I get my rhythm from.
It was also nice to hear that our host loved Airbnb! He’s from Santa Clara in central Cuba and has been running his casa particular, Cuban lingo for bed and breakfast, for 20 years. Since starting with Airbnb in March of 2016, you all are 80% of his new guests and his business is jumping. Not to mention they were super thankful that Airbnb pays so quickly ;).
One thing I noticed is that my hosts didn’t realize they could turn off instant booking, which has made for some funny and memorable moments for him since he often loses internet connectivity for days. Just thought you might like to discover that learning from the island.
As someone who also works on technology to empower people to explore their world with confidence, I have a ton of gratitude for what you and your team are working on every day. You helped me feel as though I was visiting my dad’s country not as a tourist, but as someone who was coming home after a long, long time away.
Thank you for those treasured memories.
Jackie from the Revolar team