How To Reserve Blocks of Hotel Rooms
Your guests are likely traveling from far and wide to celebrate your nuptials. Reserving a block of rooms for them as a convenient hotel is a common courtesy. It takes the guesswork out of travel, especially for out-of-town guests, and ensures all your guests are staying in close proximity to one another.
These “blocks” are groups of guest rooms that a hotel sets aside for an event, often with a pre-negotiated group paid by attendees.
Reserving hotel room blocks isn’t difficult, but it does involve planning, contacting and facilitating. We’ve compiled a guide to the process that is applicable for most locales.
1. Determine the Hotel
If you’re planning any part of your wedding for a hotel or resort, this first step might be a bit easier as you’ll already be in contact with the property. Often times, the room rate can be negotiated as part of your event. Destination wedding resorts tend to have a certain number of rooms built into the package price.
If your wedding is not at a hotel or resort, shop around to see what hotels are near your venue. Most hotels require a minimum of 10 rooms and have a maximum of 30. For this reason, and depending on your guest total, you might consider room blocks at multiple hotels. Multiple hotels are also a way to provide guests with a price range to select from.
2. Number of Rooms and Nights
Determine how many of your guests will need accommodations. If you’re having a destination wedding or if most of your guests will be traveling for an hour or more, you should plan on reserving a large block.
If 25 invited couples will need a room, you would, of course, reserve 25 rooms. Reconfigurations of this number can be made based on the number of beds in each room and if rooms conjoin for family/friends that may wish to merge together.
Rooms blocks are typically allotted for two nights, the night before and the night of the event with check-out being the next day. Some resorts may require longer stays, and some may allow one-night stays.
3. Contacting and Contracting
Plan on booking rooms 10-12 months prior to your event. Searches for the ideal hotel can be done online, but it’s a good idea to visit, if possible, just to ensure the hotel is what you want. Once made a selection, contact the hotel by phone or stop by and chat in person.
Services such as HotelPlanner.com can help you determine the best hotels and guide you through the booking process.
When booking a block of rooms, be sure to read the contract carefully. Determine what the cancellation policy is. Inquire if there’s a deposit you have to pay and if there are terms that need to be met to get your deposit back. A shrinkage clause refers to the number of unbooked rooms that are allowed without charge. For most hotels, this is between 10 to 20 percent. An attrition clause refers to the percentage of rooms that must be filled to avoid paying a penalty fee. Speak with staff about any concerns presented by a contract.
4. Booking for Guests
Once you’ve secured rooms, let your guests know. Most hotels provide a web link and a discount code associated with the reserved block of rooms. This link can be sent to guests via email and added to the travel section of your wedding website. Alternatively, guests can always call the hotel and provide the room block coordinator with their name to reserve their room.
Inquire if your hotel has a transportation service available to take guests to and from the airport of event venues. Ask the hotel where the pick-up spots are for ride-share services. Add this information and any discount codes or special instructions to your wedding website in the travel section.
Determine if your hotel offers services such as a complimentary room for the bridal couple, early and late checkouts, turn-down service, welcome bag distribution, transportation, happy hours, dining, spa services and more. You and your guests should take advantage of as many of these perks as possible, especially when free or discounted.
Feature photo courtesy of the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa.