In the year 2009, Lisa Myers signed a hotel room block contract on behalf of her class reunion that stated that if 100% of the rooms blocked were not reserved, they would be held responsible (financially) for the rest.
Lisa assumed “that the number of rooms blocked were a safe bet and that we would need that many.”
To her surprise, when the reunion rolled around, only 15 out of the 30 rooms were reserved. “I could not believe that we had to pay for rooms that we did not use. I told the hotel that we would not require them ahead of time and they still held us liable”, Lisa said.
What Lisa did not know was that she had a option. And that option is called a courtesy room block.
What Is A Courtesy Room Block?
Especially designed for smaller groups (like class reunions, weddings, and social events), this kind of room block is a simple agreement that states that the hotel agrees to honor a discounted group hotel rate with no guarantees on your part.
The hotel will hold a certain number of rooms for the class reunion and will release them for general sale after the cut off date (usually one month before the event) has passed.
What Are The Advantages Of An Open (Courtesy) Room Block?
The biggest advantage compared to a regular room block is that in a courtesy block, you are not responsible for unused rooms, whereas in a regular block, you may be. So if you block 30 rooms and only use 15, your group will only pay for fifteen.
How Do I Get A Courtesy Room Block For My Class Reunion?
We recommend that you ask for a courtesy room block when you are looking for group rates. An easy way to get started is by filling out this group hotel rates request.
In the comments section, copy and paste the following:
“We are looking for a hotel near [Insert name of school] for a class reunion celebration weekend. We would like a hotel that offers [insert amenities like Free breakfast, WiFi etc.]. Also, we will give preference to hotels that are willing to provide a courtesy room block.”
Within seconds of submitting your request, hotels will email you their group rates. The best part of this time saving service is that it is completely free with no obligation on your part.
When Will A Hotel Not Offer A Courtesy Room Block
While not often, there are times when hotels may not be willing to provide a courtesy room block for your class reunion.
The most common reason why a hotel may not offer a courtesy room block is because you may have selected a weekend that is traditionally busy. Hotels know when they can sell out regardless of your room block so they wont take the additional risk of holding rooms for a group that may or may not reserve them.
One way around this scenario is to block the rooms well ahead of time (18-24 months). Since many hotels do not look that far ahead, they will more than likely offer courtesy room blocks.
Are There Any Other Tips?
Encourage classmates to make their reservations well ahead of time. In many instances, if the hotel is going to be sold out, they will not hold the rooms in the block since they are not technically “guaranteed” by your group.
Post details about the hotel and make sure to mention the cut off date on any emails that you may send out. You also want to post hotel details, reservation method, and other pertinent details on your class reunion website.
Finally, make sure to send out reminder emails warning classmates when the cut off date is getting close. Make sure everyone understands that the hotel will not hold rooms for them past a certain date (and that the rates will be higher).
Getting a courtesy room block at a hotel should be your first option when looking to block hotel rooms. It provides your class reunion committee with the security that there won’t be any financial liability on the part of the reunion planners if all the rooms are not used.
What Should You Do Next?
Fill out one form and get a courtesy room block for your class reunion today.