We thought we were pretty smart when we reserved a hotel room in Germany to attend CeBIT 2012. The cheapest rooms we were finding were for at least a couple hundred dollars a night and I’m not talking about anything fancy, 3 stars at the best, although most are simply bed and breakfasts. We reserved a room in the Bad-Horn area for only 32 euros per night (~ $41 USD). The only catch was that it was 90 kms away. We assumed that given Germany’s fantastic road system and the fact that their Autobahn has no speed limit, that we would just rent a car and drive the 90 kms in around 30 minutes.
When we got to the airport, we were told that there is no full size car (which is what we had reserved), so we got a free upgrade to a nice black Audi A6, which is one of the most amazing cars I ever drove. The car can do 200 kph without a sweat and we made sure to test it 🙂
The only problem when was when we left for our hotel. The first part of the drive was on the Autobahn where we cruising at a nice 150-160 kph, then we left the Autobahn for a smaller road where there were speed limits!!!! We were driving between 50 – 100 kph until we got to the hotel. The hotel itself was in the middle of nowhere, and because it isn’t really a tourist destination, few people speak English. Even the ones that say they speak a little English, speak half of their sentences in German and the other half in English. Definitely a good time to use Google translate.
The next morning was the pre-fair meeting so we had to drive to the CeBIT fairgrounds. We left at around 7:30 because we had to be there at 9:00 and we wanted to make sure we were the first ones. Unfortunately, the drive was extremely painful, passing through small towns with speeds sometimes dropping to 30 kph and not to mention traffic lights. Eventually, we arrived at the fair grounds 30 minutes late. Luckily, it was preparation day and we still found ourselves to be one of the first groups there.
We shared our stories with others and found that some hotels nearby still had vacancies. During our break, we left to a town called Sarstedt and went from hotel to hotel asking if they had any vacancies. We finally stumbled upon a nice, very clean bed and breakfast, that had two rooms available. Because the fair had started and the rooms were still available, the lady was quite happy to rent them out to us for 85 euro per night for each room. Although that’s still not cheap, the room usually goes for 105 euros per night, and it was extremely clean and had a really nice breakfast buffet. The place was also very close to the street car tracks, so although we kept the car, we didn’t really need it. I would’ve gave it back but there was a transit strike in town so we didn’t want to get stranded.
I would definitely go back to the same bed and breakfast. I would recommend that people come for a day and use that day to search for rooms that weren’t rented out. It’s a bit of a risk and a bit of a hassle, but for a couple of people spending up to a week there, you can save over $1800 on hotel charges alone.
If the hotel is next to a streetcar track, then you don’t really need a car either, because you can ride for free using the CeBIT entry pass that gets distributed to all exhibitors.