Bahrain hotels warned over raising F1 room rates
Manama, April 3, 2014
By Vijay Mruthyunjaya
A leading Bahraini official has called on the country's hotels to stop dramatically increasing room rates for big events such as this weekend's F1 race.
Unreasonable price rises will be considered illegal, warned Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) chief executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa.
"We understand that in every Grand Prix hotel prices go up, it's a big event - they want to capitalise," he told the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
"Anything reasonable is acceptable, but anything above that becomes a bit too much," he stated.
"The government has a law that says you cannot go 200 per cent over your 'rack rate' for one event, so those are the rules they have to adhere to."
Research by the GDN shows some of Bahrain's top hotels have been advertising rooms at almost double the rate offered on a non-racing weekend.
In one case a five-star hotel quoted BD150 ($287) per night, up from BD95 if a guest wanted to stay the following weekend or BD76 if the room was booked a month in advance.
A minimum stay period, which has been enforced by some hotels in the past, also has the potential to turn motorsports fans away, but moves have been made to combat this practice, said Shaikh Salman.
"The minimum night's issue we tried to work on, we did it the last two years and they removed the three-night or four-night minimum," he said.
"This year they applied it, but they applied because they reduced their prices. So we have to work with them, it's back and forth but generally they've been very receptive.
"We work with Formula One World Travel and we've had no complaints."
Shaikh Salman also defended ticket prices for the Formula One, which he said were based upon the laws of supply and demand.
"If we say we are selling tickets well, it is true and the numbers are there (to prove it)," he said.
"On the other hand, we have lowered ticket prices to the Main Grandstand, for example. We saw that the most successful year was in 2010, which was when the grandstand ticket was BD150 instead of BD180, so we matched that," he explained.
"The ticket sales have been very successful. We are way above last year, which is amazing because Bahrain is a last-minute market," said Shaikh Salman.
"Everybody waits until the last week then you see the tickets sell really fast," he added.
Tickets for the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, which starts tomorrow, are still available to buy at BIC stands in Bahrain City Centre and Seef Mall, online from www.bahraingp.com or by calling 17450000.-TradeArabia News Service