When you have your date and venue confirmed, you need to start looking for a room block! You'll need to first consider your guest count in order to determine the number of rooms you're likely to need.
Courtesy Room Blocks versus Contracted Room Blocks
Some hotels only offer contracted room blocks rather than courtesy room blocks. What’ s the difference you might ask?
Courtesy room blocks do not require a contract to secure the block. This means you will not be financially responsible if your guests don’t book a room.
Contracted room blocks are a different story. Most resorts or larger hotel chains require them, but try to steer clear of them when you can. In cases where it is required, you have to turn into a really really organized couple. Why? Because you’re financially liable for those rooms whether or not they get booked! If you have an attrition rate, and your booking rate has not been met, you’ll be hit with the remaining charges to meet that rate. The hotel will release unbooked rooms, so in cases where you know your room bookings will not be met, let the hotel room booking manager (the person who you signed a contract with) know! Not always, but if you’re polite and early enough, they may be able to release more rooms and lower your booking rate in the contract. This is the best case scenario because you can avoid owing money for those unbooked rooms.
Questions to ask during your initial contact with a hotel sales manager:
What is the group rate? Make sure to find out what the taxes and extra fees are.
What is the cost for parking? Can this cost be complimentary for guests using your room block?
What time is check-in and check-out? Can early check-in and check-out be arranged?
Is there a minimum stay requirement? 1 night? 2 nights? 5 nights?!
Does the hotel offer a courtesy block? What is the maximum number of rooms available?
If we need additional rooms, can we add to the block? When would the cutoff be for adding rooms?
What other services can be included in the room block contract? ***Tip: Most hotels don’t offer complimentary services or deals unless you ask. Don’t be afraid to ask about free wifi, resort credits (if applicable), drink or dessert coupons, local restaurant and bar coupons, spa discounts, etc. The more the merrier for your guests!
What are our options for hosting pre and post wedding festivities at the hotel?
Will the hotel help deliver welcome bags to each guest free of charge? ***Tip: Most hotels provide the welcome bag delivery to rooms at a charge of $5/ bag. If they do charge, provide the bags at the lobby during check-in for guests.
Time of Year and Location Make a Difference
During peak season, most hotels increase their pricing as the demand is higher. This is very important to consider when trying to get a room block and negotiate your room rates. The more booked out the hotel is, the less the chances of them agreeing to a lower room rate for your guests.
Location is key as well! You want a hotel that is close to proximity to your wedding venue (if the wedding is not at the hotel). Otherwise, you’ll want to consider some key factors, such as transportation to and from the venue to the hotel, transportation to and from the hotel to the airport, and access to main attractions and guest experiences. You don’t want to get a room block in a remote location with no accessibility to stores, restaurants, transportation, etc.
These key considerations will help save you the headache and hassle of trying to figure out last minute accommodation details for your guests, and will allow for your guests to have a well thought out trip to attend and celebrate your nuptials!