There are three ways by which you can block hotel rooms for wedding guests
Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages and there is no right way.
Simply read the three ways to block hotel rooms and select the method that works for you.
Method #1 – Get Group Hotel Rates Online
Level of difficulty: Easy
If you need the guaranteed lowest rates around, just submit the group hotel rates form. Within a few minutes, you’ll see group rates from hotels in your desired city respond. Compare hotels and reserve a block of rooms quickly. Your wedding guests will thank you.
- It’s Free
- Group hotel rates are the lowest you can find. Rates are compared automatically across all websites to ensure that you are getting the best deal.
- No phone calls required as rates are automated and are emailed to you
- Block anywhere from 10-1000 hotel rooms per night
- Fast, and easy process, takes about five minutes
- None that we know of
Method #2 – Have your wedding planner block hotel rooms
Level of difficulty: Medium
Contact your wedding planner and let them know that you would like to block rooms for wedding guests at a nearby hotel. The wedding planner will then proceed to call the hotels in the area and get group rates for you. This method requires little in the way of time and effort but does require the services of a wedding planner which can cost additional money.
- End to end planning done for you.
- Requires very little time on your part other than selecting the right wedding planner.
- Great for very large room blocks
- Not free. Wedding planners cost money and not everyone can afford one
- Hotel room rates may not be the lowest.
- Takes a few days to weeks to get everything done
Method # 3 – Do it yourself
Level of difficulty: Moderate to hard
This is the toughest of the three methods as it requires lots of time, effort and does not guarantee the lowest room rates or any freebies from hotels. The method itself is simple. You research hotels in the area surrounding your wedding venue and select a few (3-4) that suit your needs.
Call each hotel individually and ask for the sales department so you can get group rates and negotiate any additional amenities. This method requires a lot of time but also provides control over every aspect of the room blocking process.
- Free. You’re doing all the work, so it should not cost anything.
- Provides the ultimate control over getting group hotel rates and blocking hotel rooms
- Hotel room rates may not be the lowest.
- Not a great method for booking more than 20-30 rooms per night.
- Takes a few days to weeks to complete
- You have to spend a lot of time calling hotels, and negotiating rates.
- What’s the best method to block hotel rooms for wedding guests?
While we do not like to toot our own horn, most people will find that Method # 1 (group hotel rates online) provides the best combination of rates, flexibility, and time spent.
Why method #1?
In the past, if you needed to block hotel rooms for wedding guests, you would have had to call hotels individually. This was a huge waste of time and energy. You would have to look up hotels around your wedding venue, get their telephone numbers, call the sales manager and a week later, you would have group rates from half the hotels.
But that is no longer the case as you have options.
Now you can fill out a simple form and hotels can email you their rates in less than a half hour.
And not just any hotels
You’ll only get responses from hotels that fit your location and your budget. This way, you don’t have to wade through a gazillion emails looking for the right hotel.
Speaking of emails, once you see a group rate that you like, you can lock it in instantly with one click.
After locking in your rate, negotiate for the amenities
Just blocking hotel rooms for out of town guests is not enough. You also want to have the hotel provide them with some freebies like free internet, or a free breakfast. Maybe you want the hotel to hand out welcome gift bags at check-in.
Here are some negotiating tips:
Know what amenities are most important for out of town wedding guests. In most cases, you’re going to want some of the following.
- Free WiFi
- Free Breakfast
- Free shuttle to the wedding venue
- Hotel to hand out gift bags at check-in
- Rooms blocked near each other
For more ideas, look here
Being ready to ask
Most Brides/Grooms are afraid to ask for additional amenities. They’ll take the first offer from a hotel and think they made out. Don’t be afraid to “bargain” for more.
Knowing the decision maker
Don’t waste your time with the sales coordinator who keeps telling you “Hold on. Let me ask the manager”. Ask to speak to the manager yourself. It will save you some time and we bet you’ll cut a better deal.
Use time as your friend
In any negotiation, do not rush. If you planned ahead, you’ll have tons of time to finalize the details. Hold out for the best deal.
Click for more hotel negotiation tips.
Once you have negotiated amenities, it’s time to sign the contract.
Hotel Room Block Contract For Wedding
Hotel contracts for a wedding room block should be fairly straight forward and short. Your contract should have, at the minimum the following:
- Basic contract terms and conditions,
- Room block and rate information,
- Reservations details and payment terms,
- Cancellation details,
- Cut-off dates,
- and attrition clauses.
Each of these is a key component of any room block contract and should be studied carefully to make sure you don’t end up being responsible for additional charges. Click here for additional details on hotel room block contracts.
Once you have a signed contract, it’s time you let everyone on your guest list know that you have blocked hotel rooms.
Send a small card along with your wedding invites
Or better yet, send out an email letting people know how they can book their rooms. You’re going to need to provide them with
- The name of the hotel,
- Telephone number,
- Address, group rate,
- and the group code.
The earlier you let people know about the room block, the better. And just about every month after, you need to send a reminder email informing wedding guests to make their reservations before the hotel sells out.
Now that you know how to block hotel rooms for wedding guests, let’s look at some frequently asked questions.
When should you block rooms for your wedding?
As soon as you know the wedding date, you should look into getting a “block” of rooms at a hotel nearby. Hotels sell out quite fast on summer weekends (Wedding season) so the earlier you reserve your block of rooms, the better.
How many rooms should you block for wedding guests?
There is no right way to determine how many rooms to block. Some brides start with ten rooms and as the reservations come in, they continue to add more rooms to the block.
Another method is to just take the number of out of town guests and divide that by two and that yields a fairly accurate number as well.
And if you need less than thirty rooms, consider asking for a courtesy room block
What is courtesy room block?
A courtesy room block requires no deposit, no contracts, and does not hold you financially responsible for any rooms not used. While is it offered at most hotels, it is not publicized much since most hotels want to get some kind of deposit for holding rooms.
The only restriction to a courtesy room block is the number of rooms a hotel will let you reserve. In most cases, a hotel will let you reserve twenty or thirty rooms at a time.
Read more about courtesy room blocks here.
Whether you get a courtesy room block or not, most hotels will ask you for a deposit when you block hotel rooms.
How much is the deposit when I block hotel rooms?
If you got a courtesy room block, then the deposit is zero. But if you can’t then the deposit can be anywhere from 10-50% of the entire room block. However, 10% is usually the norm.
Getting a block of rooms is not as complicated as it sounds. It is a relatively simple process that starts with getting group rates at hotels. And if you have not blocked rooms yet, the time to start is now.