How Can I Ensure My Guests Enjoy Their Stay
Though you might now know the who, what, when, where and why for booking room blocks at a hotel, there is always wedding room block etiquette to consider. When beginning your search for wedding room blocks, look into multiple price ranges for your wedding guests. If possible, reserve blocks in three separate Las Vegas hotels,all at least $50 between price points. Then, guests wont feel forced into booking a room they cannot comfortably afford. When the wedding day arrives, be sure guests have enough time between check-in and check-out to both get ready for your ceremony and pack up. A rushed guest is not a happy one! Finally, be sure your guests have all the amenities they need. Ask the hotel if they can leave a welcoming goodie bag in each room, and provide a schedule of events at the front desk in case guests ask for this information. At the end of your wedding, guests will remember your beautiful ceremony and caring hospitality.
What Should You Do If You Cant Get A Hotel Room Block For A Wedding
This is very unlikely to happen as most hotels offer room blocks. Unless you are planning the wedding with very little planning time or have a low budget during an extremely busy period, there is no reason not to get a room block. However, if for some unforeseen reason you find yourself stuck without one, there are still options. In a case like this, we suggest that you provide your guests with a list of hotels in the area near your venue which they can then book themselves. This is not ideal for a wedding but will still help ensure that your guests have accommodation nearby.
How To Manage Your Hotel Room Block
The ink has dried and the room block contract is complete what next? Before assuming all is said and done, there is still a list of to dos that need to be checked off while managing the hotel blocks for your clients event.
But there are also a number of considerations to take into account after they have signed on the dotted line. So what exactly are the next steps to managing your clients hotel room block?
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Which Room Block Would Work Best
Youre usually able to get a higher number of rooms with a guaranteed block vs. an open block. However, because plans can change , I almost always recommend doing an open, courtesy block.
For most couples, an open block is the best way to go. On average, you can get 10-20 rooms on an open block, though there are some hotels that can offer 25-30+ on an open block, based on their availability for your dates.
Once an open block is full, you can also ask your hotel to add more rooms to your block, based on their availability. For this reason, I recommend having your VIP guests book their rooms as early as possible. It will make your wedding day much smoother if your VIPs are all getting ready at one location, rather than multiple hotels.
How Far In Advance Of The Wedding Should Hotel Rooms Be Arranged
To score the best deal, Lauren Grech, CEO & Co-Founder of LLG Events & LLG Agency, and Adjunct Professor at New York University, recommends that couples set their hotel blocks up one year in advance of their wedding date, or ideally when you send out Save The Dates.
This way, you can incorporate the accommodation information on this stationery or your wedding website, she says. To set up your hotel block, she suggests visiting the hotels website and filling out an RFP , or contacting the hotel and asking to speak to someone in group sales. Let them know you are looking for a courtesy block for your wedding, and then they will walk you through the process, she says. If you hired a wedding planner, this can be his or her task, as its more likely for a hotel to give them access to its internal booking system rather than some random couple.
But even if you know exactly which hotel you want for your guests, Hammer still suggests calling them directly to make sure youre asking and getting answers to all the important questions upfront.
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The Most Common Types Of Hotel Blocks
Closed Blocks: The hotel requires a deposit in order to block off rooms and will hold you financially responsible for any unsold rooms: this is the attrition rate. Sometimes its a percentage, sometimes its a real number.
This is the type of block associated with nightmares of making sure that every room gets filled up. The ONLY time I recommend doing a closed or guaranteed block is when the hotel is literally the only game in town and you are as close to certain as possible that all rooms will be snapped up.
Open Blocks: These are usually free of clauses holding you financially responsible for unsold rooms within the block. Generally, the biggest requirement with a courtesy block is that all reservations are made prior to a cutoff date . Rooms that are not reserved by the cutoff date are released and sold at market price. The main downside to this type of block is that often hotels will only hold a small number of rooms .
If you think you will need more rooms than the maximum allowed within the courtesy block, I suggest asking the hotel for their policy on adding rooms upon completion. Also, I suggest booking a second block at another hotel.
Do We Have To Pay For A Wedding Group Block At A Hotel
This is entirely dependent on your hotel’s contract terms. Some hotels offer courtesy holds on group bookings until a particular date , while others require a deposit from the couple or a penalty charge, or attrition rate, if not all of the rooms are booked. It’s very important that you read your hotel block contract thoroughly and ask questions about anything you don’t understand.
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Understand The Different Types Of Room Blocks
There are two main types of room blocks: Guaranteed blocks and courtesy blocks. Understanding the differences between the two is incredibly important.
Guaranteed room blocks require a contract, and those contracts often include additional fees or penalties for cancellations. And, most importantly, couples will be on the hook for some or all of the rooms that dont book.
In an email to Wedding Spot, accredited wedding planner Lynne Kennedy of The Gilded Aisle Weddings Inc. said, The contract will state what percentage of the block must be booked which typically ranges from 90% to 100%. For example, a contract for 10 room nights with a 90% guarantee requires 9 rooms to be booked. If only 8 rooms are booked, the client will be responsible for paying for that ninth room.
Courtesy blocks, on the other hand, are a no-commitment option the sales representative may offer. NYC wedding planner and founder of Modern Rebel Shack Egan told Wedding Spot that a courtesy room block is anywhere between 10-20 rooms that are set aside for your guests usually until a cut-off date. You are not responsible financially if none of them are booked, it’s just a courtesy!
The tradeoff? The hotel will most likely release the unbooked rooms to other customers 30-60 days prior to the date, said Beaman. So if you dont mind taking this risk, consider maximizing your flexibility using this tactic.
Who Pays For Hotel Rooms For Wedding Guests
This really depends on the wedding. Generally, guests tend to pay for their own hotel rooms. With hotel room blocks for the wedding, guests will call in or book through a customized, direct link created and provided by the hotel. This allows them to book the room at the negotiated standard group rate. However, depending on the size of the wedding, the couple may choose to pay for the entire room block or at least for some of the guests rooms.
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How To Book Hotel Rooms For Your Wedding Guests
Check out our comprehensive guide on how to book hotel rooms for your wedding guests to learn the ins and outs of this sometimes-tricky task.
If youre having guests travel from out of town for your wedding, its a nice gesture to help them find a place to stay throughout the festivities. Couples often put together a list of suggestions for places to stay in the area or work with local hotels to reserve a room block on behalf of their out-of-town guests. Check out our comprehensive guide on how to book hotel rooms for your wedding guests to learn the ins and outs of this sometimes-tricky task.
How To Intelligently Book A Wedding Room Block
First, please know, reserving a hotel room block for your guests is not a requirement. Your guests are very capable human beings who can figure out their own hotel accommodations for the wedding.
However, a hotel room can be a nice gesture and can encourage wedding guests to stay in the same place which can create a fun community feeling during your wedding weekend.
Therefore, if you do decide to book a hotel room block or two for your wedding, here are a few items to consider.
Guaranteed vs. Courtesy
First, know there are two types of room blocks guaranteed and courtesy room blocks.
Guaranteed room blocks come with an attrition clause attached to them. This means if you reserve 30 rooms for a specific date, and your hotel guests only reserve 15 of those rooms for that date, you could be financially responsible for the remaining 15 rooms. As you can imagine, if this occurs, it can be financially painful for you the hotel rooms. So definitely be aware of what the attrition clause is if you agree to a guaranteed room block. Even though this sounds like a scary option, it may be the only way to go to ensure you and your wedding guests have specific hotel accommodations if your hotel is in high demand over your wedding day weekend.
Generally speaking, unless you have a specific reason for needing to agree to a guaranteed room block, the courtesy room block option is the much safer option to choose.
Calculate Your Room Nights Correctly
Smith & Brown Courtesy Room Block
Other Tips And Tricks
Dont answer the budget question up front, because if you provide a number, thats where the hotel will start. Let them know youre not certain, and that you plan on talking to a few hotels to determine the best option. Use the offers that you receive as incentivedont be shy to let each hotel know what you like about their competitors offer and give them the opportunity to compete for your business.
Once youve settled on a deal that both you and the hotel are pleased with, youll want to get everything in writing. Be sure to read the contract and be on the lookout for phrases such as these:
Double check that any verbal agreements made during the negotiation are included in the final agreement . Dont sign anything until youve read all of it and are comfortable with it. If you ask for changes to be made and the hotel is not cooperative, you may want to look for another option. Ive come to find that when a hotel is not willing to be flexible at this point in the process, it can often lead to an even worse experience down the road.
Be Strategic About Location
While your hotel blocks should be convenient to your venue , its actually more important that they be close to each other. That way, if youre hosting a brunch or an after-party its easy for people to get to the location, says Ayers. Or, if youre offering transportation to the wedding, the only has to make one stop that people can meet at. It saves time in the long run.
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Everyone Staying In One Place
If everyone books their own rooms, they will all book rooms at different hotels all over the place. Imagine how much of a headache it would be to coordinate the wedding weekend events, especially if the wedding is at a venue outside the hotel. With a room block, everyone is at the same hotel/resort and organizing is simple. Making sure no one is late or getting lost en route to your wedding.
Arranging Hotels For Your Wedding
As a key bit of advice, reserve a block of rooms for your guests at special rates at one or two select hotels with plenty of time before the big event. At most hotels, and as a general rule, the minimum number of guests rooms required to make a block is 10 rooms per night. If, however, you are holding the reception at the hotel or using any banquet space that number can be flexed. If you are looking for over 30 rooms per night, another good idea is to split the group blocks among two to three hotels. This way your guests can have a choice between different locations and prices. . Whatever you do to set up these hotel blocks, do not start blindly calling hotels in your area. You will not be doing your guests any favors by reserving blocks at the first rates the hotel quotes to you. The first step is to see what rates are out there on the internet. The best source for accomplishing this is HotelPlanner.com.
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Get The Codes To Share With Your Guests
Most hotels will give you a website link that you can post directly on your wedding website. When your guests click the link, it takes them to a special reservations portal where the discount is already applied, and the computer knows that the reservation belongs with your group.
For guests who prefer to book their hotel over the phone, you will also be given a group code that they can provide to a reservations agent when calling to make their reservation.
Shop Around For The Best Rates
Ayers recommends calling 3 to 5 hotels in the area to determine the lowest rates. Youll be surprised by how much they can vary, she says. The size of the hotel, if they already have groups booked for your date, convention, or major event traffic it can all impact room price.
Be sure to note when a quoted rate is set to expire. A hotel typically only guarantees a rate for about two weeks, says Ayers. After that, there’s a good chance it will increase.
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