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4 Things to Consider Before Booking Accommodation in the Middle East



The Middle East, an enchanting blend of ancient history, vibrant culture, and modern luxury, witnessed an increase of 40% in tourist foot traffic in 2023, and rightfully so. From historical sites in Jordan and the soaring skyscrapers of Dubai to the Red Sea Coastline in Eilat and the serene beaches of Oman, the Middle East regions offer tourists diverse experiences.


However, selecting suitable accommodation is essential to truly enjoying your Middle Eastern experience. Choosing a good hotel in the Middle East is not an issue. This is because the Middle East boasts the best hospitality industry in the world, as per the hospitality data analytics firm STR. With many hotels to select from, we will discuss five essential factors before booking your hotel in the Middle East.


Cultural Sensitivity And Influence


Before looking up hotels in the Middle East, know that the region comprises 93% of the Muslim population. You will need to acquaint yourself with cultural sensitivity and awareness in these countries. The two most prominent cultural sensitivities to be aware of are alcohol consumption and dressing sense. 


As mentioned before, most Middle Eastern countries are Muslim, and hence, consumption or possession is very restricted. Saudi Arabia recently opened a liquor store after 72 years, and even that’s restricted to non-Muslim diplomats. Some countries have strict prohibitions, while others permit it in licensed hotels and bars.


If you like to have a good time over a drink or two, look for a hotel with a license to serve alcohol or bars nearby. However, during Ramadan, it’s considered a crime to consume alcohol around June and July. Before booking a hotel, look up your destination's specific laws to avoid surprises. 


Budget

According to the latest STR report, the hotels in the Middle East had an average room rate of $160 year-to-date in 2023. And despite one of the highest hotel room rates in the world, hotel occupancy continues to be around 70%. The revenue per available room (RevPar) is expected to grow by 1,9% in 2024. 


This means that if you are planning a trip to the Middle East, careful consideration of your budget is crucial. Depending on your budget, you can choose from five-star resorts and opulent palaces to budget hotels and cozy guesthouses. Set a realistic budget before starting your research to help narrow your options. 


Remember that hotel rates can vary significantly depending on the time of year, location, and accommodation type. If you are flexible with your dates, consider traveling during off-seasons when the rates are low. 


Location and Accessibility


Speaking of the location, picking those close to major attractions will enhance your travel experience significantly. Choosing a hotel near major landmarks or business districts will save you time and transportation costs. Moreover, when you pick a hotel with easy access to airports, public transport stations, or taxi services, you cut your travel stress in half by simplifying arrival and departure. 


For example, hotels like the Royal Garden Hotel by Isrotel fit the above criteria. Look for a place that is a short drive from the nearest airport and a stone’s throw from major attractions in their region. Exploring the major attractions on foot and being able to reach  the airport in a jiffy takes away a lot of travel-related stress.


Moreover, safety is also paramount when traveling to a conservative nation. Look up the neighborhood’s reputation online and avoid booking hotels in an area with a high crime rate. However, the crime rates in the Middle East are not concerning. The UAE and Qatar are considered the 2nd and 3rd safest countries in the world, 


Check the hotel website you picked for security measures like 24/7 security personnel, CCTV cameras, and well-lit surroundings. This will let you focus on enjoying your Middle Eastern experience instead of worrying about the safety of your belongings.


Amenities and Services


It goes without saying that when booking a hotel, you must look for hotels with amenities that you can’t do without. A new survey revealed that 81% of parents are planning a family vacation with their children in the next year. 


If you are also planning a trip to the Middle East with your kids, look up hotels with family-friendly facilities. Look for facilities like a kid’s club, supervised activities, and entertainment. Additionally, babysitting services and connecting rooms are a must for parents and kids to have their own space and moments.


Business travelers, on the other hand, have different needs. They should consider hotels with amenities like well-equipped conference rooms, high-speed Wi-Fi, printing facilities, and business centers with secretarial services. These facilities will significantly enhance productivity during the stay.


A trip to the Middle East is an experience by itself, and choosing the right hotel will ensure you enjoy the adventure to its full potential. Consider cultural sensitivities, amenities, location, accessibility, and security before booking your accommodation. Doing due diligence will help you select a hotel that aligns with your personal needs and empower you to have a culturally enriching experience during your stay.

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