After my brides and grooms have chosen a date and confirmed their venue we take the next step in confirming hotel room blocks for guests. While my team and I do this almost every day, the process for those who don’t have the pleasure of a planner can be a bit confusing.
Today I’m going to give you a few tips and tricks to securing rooms for your wedding guests.
The first thing you need to do is determine how many guests will need accommodations. Remember, if you’re expecting 100 guests it would generally mean about 50 rooms. However, keep in mind, unless your wedding is a destination you most likely can cut that number to 25. And if your wedding is a destination, you want to make sure you have enough rooms for all your guests.
Once you know the number of rooms I recommend making a list of all the hotels in and around your wedding venue. Start with calling the larger hotels and work your way down to the boutique hotels. When calling the hotel ask to speak with the person in charge of room blocks.
Keep in mind there are several ways hotels will set aside rooms for your wedding. There’s a thing called “the courtesy block” and one called a “financial guarantee”. We always recommend staying away from the latter. We prefer a courtesy block allows you to set aside a certain number of rooms (usually 10 on the outset without putting any money down) at a reduced, fixed rate. The hotel will require you to sign a “contract” but that contract usually states that within 30 days of your wedding they will release any un-booked rooms into the general population. The latter (the financial guarantee) will ask you to sign a contract and either put a deposit down on each room. If all rooms are not booked you will have to pay a percentage regardless of whether or not the room was booked. Now I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not want to pay for something I didn’t use. So that’s why we always shy away from that option.
The great thing about a courtesy block is that as the rooms fill up you can often ask the hotel to add more to the block, of course subject to availability.
We always tell our clients to keep a few things in mind. You can certainly go onto Hotels.com or other sites and find the same rooms and sometimes they may be at a reduced rate. And sometimes the hotel will match that rate, but often they do not and in reality they have no control how a site like that buys up their inventory. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you have someone with say, an AARP discount, they may not be able to get both the room block rate and their discount. So if they want the bigger discount they may not be part of your block.
We also recommend giving your guests a choice of hotels with different rates. Let’s face it, everyone’s budget is different so it’s nice to help your guests out.
Another thing to keep in mind is that while you may want all your rooms to be together, the hotels can’t guarantee it no matter how often you beg and plead for the rooms to be together. So if your uncle is upset that your grandmother can’t be next to him you know why.
And finally, while it’s great to give gift bags or boxes as guests arrive to the hotel, keep in mind there may be an additional cost. Most hotels will charge to distribute at the front desk and most dread when you want each to be placed or delivered to the room. The reason, guests don’t show, they change rooms and then the hotel staff has to chase down where each guest is staying.
So while it may be a bit of work, I hope this helps you as you set forth and help to make your wedding guests stay a bit more comfortable.
Until next time…