When booking hotels keep this in mind, hotel room rates are not fixed. They use complex formulas to set their room prices which are usually dependent upon supply and demand. You don’t have to know the formulas they use, you just need to have a few tricks up your sleeve that will help you outsmart them. Trust me on this; you’ll be able to bring down a significant portion of your travel expenses just by choosing hotel rooms wisely. A little legwork and you may even end up staying at a decent star hotel for the price of a run-of-the-mill hotel.
1. Booking.com is not the only place where you can get prices online for hotels in Saudi.
There are many others like Expedia, Wego, Trivago and Hotels.com that have hotel rooms from all around Saudi. You may find that prices for the same hotel are different on different websites.
2. Or if you don’t like to visit each accommodation booking website manually, then just visit hotelscombined.com
It is a meta-search site that compares rates from many different websites and brings you the best room rates.
3. If you go the traditional way of visiting the hotel and asking for room rates then leave your luggage in the car.
If you come in with your luggage chances are you won’t leave without booking a room and the person sitting at the hotel desk knows this; so leave it behind.
4. Or you can call them from the directory and get the rates beforehand
You may be able to get better prices for the same rooms as hotels will be able to skip third party commissions if you approach them directly. Check destinationlisting.com for hotel contact details in all major cities of Saudi.
5. Avoid high-demand seasons
This is very important when travelling in Saudi. A city like Taif sees its hotel rates increase drastically during the summer, while similarly in cities like Makkah and Madinah hotels tend to charge exorbitant rates during Ramadan and Eid.
6. Trust previous stayers reviews
Hotel stars don’t give a clear idea of the kind of services to expect. Check previous hotel stayer’s reviews to get a much clearer picture.
7. Furnished Apartments are the way to go
They come as a life saver in Saudi especially for those who are looking to stay for a longer duration. No wonder they exist in almost every neighborhood in the big cities. And when one travels to smaller towns, these are the only accommodation options available, so always keep an eye for those colorful lights that have become a symbol for furnished apartments.
8. Try giving conventional accommodations a miss.
You can rent vacation homes or rooms on AirBnB and the likes. If you are looking for something without any cost whatsoever do check Couchsurfing.com that will allow you to stay with locals for free. Couchsurfing.com has a few listings from Saudi as well.
9. Loyalty can pay
Hotels and hotel booking websites have loyalty programs that can pay off well. Hotels.com offers 1 night free for 10 days of stay, Booking.com’s Genius travel loyalty program offers an additional 10% off on select hotels and many international hotel chains have their own loyalty programs that allow for free upgrades and additional services for loyal customers.
10. Book in advance
Try booking between 15-45 days before your travel and you can find the prices up to almost 30% cheaper. However, it is recommended that you book refundable ones (though they may be a bit more expensive) so that you won’t lose your hard earned money just because you had a change of plans.