|12 tips to get the best hotel deal
Hotels rates in Bahrain tend to fluctuate depending on season and demand. Even with five-star hotels, which tend to charge similar rates, it does not mean there aren't deals to be had. Here are 10 tips to get the most bang for your buck.
- Shop for deals online. Calling up a hotel direct often means you will be quoted the "rack rate" or the published rate, which is usually the highest price you can pay. Look around instead for ads offering online deals, either from the hotels themselves or from travel operators who negotiate discounts with the hotels. Hotel promotions are pretty common, and there are often some good deals.
- Compare prices before you book. Different travel websites might offer different rates for the very same hotel, or hotels in the same class. Even if the hotel rates are the same, some may offer a better package than others. Shop around and compare first, then make your booking. Usually, different sources offer different packages (such as air tickets and car rental), so you'll have to look at various websites to compare the offerings.
- Be patient with online bookings. Computerized bookings aren't always in "real time," and it may take up to 48 hours (sometimes longer) for the booking service to get a confirmation from the hotel. Let the booking service offer an alternative if your first-choice hotel is full. This will save time, and it may save money during periods of high demand.
- Be flexible with your dates. Room rates often rise on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of the Friday weekend in Bahrain. If possible, start your visit anytime from Saturday to Tuesday to take advantage of lower rates that stay in effect right through your trip.
- Book early. Planning a visit during a major event like the Formula-1 Grand Prix? Best to book early or risk paying premiums for the few rooms that might be available.
- Book at the last minute. Visiting during the lean tourist season, such as during the height of summer? Booking at the last minute may mean you can save more through online discounters specializing in last-minute travel. Plan your travel to avoid the peak season, and avoid coinciding with conventions or other special events, as rates tend to be the highest during these periods.
- Loyalty has its privileges. If you have membership in a particular loyalty program, you might want to consider that hotel company first. Sometimes, the lowest available rate will be found on the hotel's own website. Make sure to search that site thoroughly, checking reservations made from the homepage as well as on special offers pages.
- Frequent flyers go further. Frequent flyers can earn miles for hotel stays at locations around the world. In addition, many airlines offer limited-time bonuses, so you can earn even more miles. However, in most cases you will have to choose between earning frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty program points.
- Be aware of extra charges. If you're not careful, you can sometimes wind up paying much more than you had expected when you check out of your hotel. Almost all hotels offer additional services that you may be tempted to use, but that come with a considerable markup that you will be required to pay in addition to your room rate. Many hotels will add extra charges to your bill for the following: making long-distance telephone calls, accessing the Internet, ordering room service or using the mini-bar.
- Ask about cancellation fees. Canceling your stay can cost you a bundle, depending on which website you book with and how much advance notice you give. When making reservations, be sure to ask if there will be a fee if you need to cancel for any reason. When you find a deal you're happy with, book the room right away. If you wait too long, the deal may disappear.
- Consider alternative accommodation. Hotels aren't the only option in Bahrain. You can also consider resorts, guesthouses or furnished short-stay apartments. These might be cheaper than hotels while offering just as much in terms of guest amenities. Also, remember Bahrain is pretty small, so you don't have to book a hotel right in the heart of the city to get around easily.
- Check in early. The quality of hotel rooms can vary, especially in older hotels or those whose layout limits the number of rooms that have good views and sunlight. Although you can request a specific room ahead of time, you can't always be sure of getting it--and if you've never stayed in the hotel, you may not know what to request in the first place. Fortunately, there's an easy solution in most cases: Check in as early as you can. If you aren't happy with the room you've been assigned, ask to see another.
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