Getting group discounts from different vendors is simply the easiest and fastest way to lower the cost of your destination wedding by anywhere from 5 to 20%.
And yet many couples cringe at the thought of getting group rates.
Why Couples Don’t Get Group Rates
Because they think it is too cumbersome and time-consuming and is not worth the effort.
Other couples don’t want the responsibility of selecting things like hotels and activities for guests so they don’t bother with group rates. They reason that guests can make their own reservations and look for their own discounts.
Regardless of the reason, not getting group rates can be a big mistake. No matter how you look at it, you are leaving a lot of money on the table by not getting group rates.
In this article, we are going to go over just who offers group rates for a destination wedding, how much you can expect to save, and what to watch out for before signing any deals.
By the end of this article, you will realize that getting group rates can offer some significant benefits for both you and your wedding guests.
Who offers group rates?
Just about any vendor that you do business with will offer some kind of group rates so long as you purchase over a certain minimum quantity. For destination weddings, there are five main categories of vendors that offer significant discounts if you buy in bulk. Let’s start with hotels.
Group Hotel Rates
By far the largest amount of money you can save for yourself and your wedding guests at a destination wedding will be by getting group hotel rates.
While it may sound complicated having to call around and getting group rates from hotels, there is a much easier way to do this now. All you have to do is fill out a simple form that outlines the details of your destination wedding, and hotels in your desired city and budget will respond with a group hotel rates through e-mail. The service is free and it’s faster than if you try to do it yourself.
How much can you save? The average savings for group rates at hotels is a little more than 20%. And that doesn’t even take into account any free rooms that you may get for being the bride. To learn more about how to get a free room, read this article.
Group Airfare Rates
If the majority of your family, and friends are flying out from the same location, then consider getting group airfare rates to your destination. Airlines like American, Southwest, United all offer group discounts for wedding guests that are flying out to a destination wedding. Typically, the discounts are around 5% in many airlines will guarantee that it is the lowest fare.
Most couples that have a destination wedding will plan some kind of an activity for their wedding guests. In most cases, the activity is paid for by the bride and groom as a gift to the guests.
Popular excursions are horseback riding, kayaking, scuba diving, or fishing expeditions. In planning these activities, make sure that you are asking every vendor for a group discount. You may be surprised at learning that local lenders will discount 20 to 40% for groups of 20 or more.
Regardless of where you are planning your wedding, you’re going to need to buy some things in bulk. An example would be wedding favors, wedding gift bags, dresses for your bridal party and tuxes.
Jenny Silverman, a recent destination wedding bride herself, save over 40% by calling multiple vendors for simple things like bridal bouquets, trinkets to put it wedding gift bags, and custom stationery.
When asked about her experience, she said “I was initially a little apprehensive about making the phone calls to ask for discounts. It was so much easier just to buy it online at retail. But then I made my first phone call and saved over 40% and that encouraged me to continue making even more phone calls. In the end I saved over $3000 just by asking for discounts based on the quantity that I was buying. It wasn’t hard at all”.
Group Discounts For Entertainment
The average destination wedding has over sixty people attending. Most of them will need some form of entertainment to keep busy during downtime.Rather than have each guest fend for themselves, why not have one person put together some entertainment ideas (Comedy clubs, Broadway shows, Aquarium, etc.), and then get group rates for each.
By now, you’re not going to be surprised to hear that you can save over 50% by doing just that. Regardless of the type of entertainment, there is going to be a discount for large groups. Even Disney will offer you a discount if you come in with a large enough group.
Knowing that you can save money is exciting but beware of jumping the gun too quickly. Before you get too excited about a ridiculously low price, make sure you know what strings are attached.
Know The Details
In most cases, if a vendor is offering a service, they will have you sign a contract. Look into all the details, clauses, and stipulations of the contract so you know just what you are getting yourself into.
As an example, let’s assume you’re looking to block forty rooms at a hotel in Aspen, Colorado for a winter wedding. Once you have the group rates from hotels, you will notice that each deal offered has certain conditions.
Some hotels may have minimum deposits that you have to pay at the time that you block rooms. Others may ask that guests make reservations at least 30 days ahead of the wedding or the rooms will be sold to the general public. Some hotels may even ask you to guarantee every single room regardless of whether it is used or not.
Knowing the details is extremely important before you sign any kind contract with the vendor. If there are certain clauses or stipulations that you don’t like in the contract, make sure you negotiate with the vendor to have them removed.
But I don’t like to negotiate. I don’t even know how.
If you don’t like to negotiate, you’re not alone. Many people cringe at the thought of having to ask for discounts. They feel like they’re being cheap or stingy and just don’t feel comfortable being in that situation.
However, as a wise man once said “In life, you don’t always get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate”.
If you don’t know how to negotiate, or just aren’t comfortable doing it, then follow the three tips outlined below. Use them to either lower the rate and or remove the clause that you can’t agree to.
Call three vendors
Call at least three vendors for each item that you need to purchase. For example if you are looking for activities for wedding guests, then call at least three different types of activities or three vendors that offer the same activity. Tell each vendor that you are shopping around and give the names of the other vendors you’ll be calling. When a vendor is aware of competitors, they generally offer lower rates.
Don’t answer this question
Many vendors, like hotel sales managers, will ask you for a budget when you are looking to block hotel rooms for wedding guests. This question is designed to gain information about how much money you are willing to spend on the wedding. By answering this question, you will lose any edge you may have in trying to get a discounted price since the vendor now knows how much you are looking to spend. Instead of answering the budget question, simply respond by saying “I don’t have a budget yet, I’m simply shopping around for the best value I can find”.
That is the best advice we can give you when a vendor refuses to budge on something that you just can’t agree to. The act of walking away will put a sense of urgency in the vendor and may help change their mind. And even if it doesn’t, don’t be surprised if you get a call from the same vendor a few days after your negotiation ended with a change of heart.
Being aware the group rates exist and that you should be taking advantage of them is the first step in lowering the cost of your destination wedding. Remember not to be shy about asking for discounts and make sure you read the fine details before signing any contracts.