It’s All About Negotiation
Everyone knows that marriage is all about compromise, but compromise is also the name of the game when booking a block of rooms for guests!
Securing a block of rooms can be daunting, but we’re breaking down everything you’ll need to know before booking…
What is a room block?
A room block is a set of hotel rooms that are set aside for guests from your wedding to book at a fixed rate. Most hotels will have a minimum number of rooms (depending on the size of the hotel or current availability) that must be included to be considered a room block.
You’ll want to have a block of rooms at one or two hotels for out-of-town guests. We recommend picking two hotels close to your venue so that guests can easily travel back and forth without racking up a large Uber or taxi fare.
Room blocks also sometimes come with added perks like early check-ins, late check-outs, or free amenities! Don’t be afraid to ask for these in the contracting phase – typically the more rooms you contract, the more amenities you are likely to receive.
Where to Start
First you’ll need to think about how many guests you expect to need to stay at a hotel.
Don’t worry about locals at this point – just think about out of town guests, and calculate how many of those out-of-town guests are likely to need hotel rooms. Divide this number by two to calculate how many rooms you’ll need (since you’re likely to have two guests per room).
Calculate about 80% of this number because it’s not likely that every single person you invite will attend, and you’ll have your answer of how many rooms you need! Don’t worry, we’ve included an example to make the math a little easier:
If you have 50 guests coming from out of town, 50 divided by 2 = 25. 80% of 25 is 20. So you’ll need about 20 rooms in your hotel block.
Once you know about how many rooms you need, the next step is figuring out how many blocks of rooms to book at different hotels. If you’re hosting a destination wedding where many guests are traveling from out of town, you’re getting married at a hotel that is known for being pricey, or you have a larger wedding (more than 140 people), we recommend having blocks of rooms at two or three hotels with different price points. This will keep you from having to add on more rooms later and will allow guests of different budgets to stay near your venue comfortably.
What little details should I look out for when booking?
Cancellation policies, deposits, and mitigation clauses. All of these terms are related to what happens if all of the rooms in your block aren’t filled, and you’ll want to know about any penalties or fees you’re responsible for.
Pro-tip: ask for a courtesy room block. That’s a room block with no attrition, meaning no financial commitment for the signer if the rooms are not all booked.
When do I reserve the block of rooms?
About a year before the big day. If your big day falls near a holiday or a big event in the city you’re holding your wedding in, you’ll want to have these rooms reserved so that you beat the rush.
A good rule of thumb is to have the block of rooms booked by the time you send out save the dates.
Tips and Tricks
One way to make this really simple for your guests is to include all hotel information and the links for booking a room on your wedding website. We also recommend including a phone number for either your wedding planner or a family member so that guests can contact them with questions about booking.
If it looks like your out-of-town guests aren’t going to fill the rooms you’ve booked, consider offering them to local guests especially your bridal party. This will allow them to mingle with other guests if they wish and will provide them with a VIP experience.
And after speaking to local guests, if you know those rooms won’t be filled prior to the cutoff date (the last date to reserve a room in your room block), let the hotel know! They’ll appreciate the advance notice in helping them place those unused rooms back into inventory.
Guess what? If you’ve come this far, that means you’re almost finished planning your dream wedding! Stay tuned for next month’s blog…you’re in the home stretch!
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