And they end up paying for the same services to the hotel or to another vendor.
What they don’t realize is that hotels can be very accommodating to wedding guests and many will add perks that they don’t normally offer to other groups.
These perks can be anything from a free bridal suite to adding your names on the marquee.
The trick is to know what you want before blocking hotel rooms
Once you have rates from 3-4 hotels, it’s time to start asking what perks each will offer if you bring your business to them. Remember that you are in control before the contract is signed so try to get as much as you can out of it.
Let’s look at the seven perks below and see which ones you’d like to have for your wedding guests.
Perk #1: Will your guests need a complimentary shuttle to the wedding venue?
Ask the hotel if they can provide you with a shuttle to and from the wedding venue. Many hotels, especially ones that are near your wedding venue, will be familiar with your request and will happily provide the service.
Some may charge you a nominal service charge of $50 and that is reasonable to cover the cost of the driver and the gas. And it’s much cheaper than hiring a shuttle company (this can run into thousands of dollars). If this is something you’re interested in, read our series of articles on getting a shuttle for wedding guests.
Perk #2: Do you want the party to continue at the hotel after hours?
If your wedding venue closes early or won’t let the party go beyond a certain hour, then your next best option is to ask the hotel to see if they can keep their bar open later than normal. Most hotels will do it happily, provided that you agree to spend a certain amount. At the hotel that we stayed at, the minimum spend amount was $350, but that can vary with the type of hotel you select.
The important thing is that most bars can stay open well past the midnight hour which is when most venues want to kick you out. So if you’re into partying on your wedding night, this serves as a great option for both you and your wedding guests.
Perk #3: Would the hotel hand out welcome bags at check in?
If you have out of town wedding guests, then you are going to be preparing welcome gift bags for them. You can ask the hotel to deliver the gift bags in the rooms or hand them out at check-in. If you don’t iron this our before you sign the contract, you can expect to pay between $3-4 per bag. So if you have twenty five rooms in your block, you’re looking at paying an extra $100.
At the time that you are getting rates from hotels, ask each one if they charge anything for handing out welcome bags at check in. If they do charge, you’ve got something to negotiate. In most cases, a hotel will give into this one relatively easily because the $100 is just not a large enough number.
Again, the trick is to ask this before you sign the room block contract.
Perk #4: Will you get a free hotel room?
If you only need 10-15 rooms, then you’re not going to get a free rooms when you get a room block. It’s just not enough revenue for the hotel to be able to give out a free room. However, if you are going to need 20 or more rooms, you should be able to score a free room for every 20-25 rooms.
Hotels call this concept the comp ratio. So if a hotel says that they will give you a comp ratio of 20:1, that means that for every 20 rooms your guests use, you can have one for free.
So if your guests use up 80 total rooms, you’re going to get four rooms for free. You can use them for yourself or just give them to some of people in your bridal party as a thank you.
To learn more on how to get a free room, read this article: How to get a free hotel room when you book a room block
Perk #5: Can the hotel arrange for a private room to have breakfast in the morning after the wedding?
One of the things many of your wedding guests will appreciate is a hotel that offers a free breakfast. What would make it even better is if the hotel will let you have a private breakfast in one of their meeting rooms.
Just ask if they will let you use a meeting room in the morning as a place that you can hang out with your wedding guests the morning after the wedding. It adds a nice touch and provides a nice place for you to be able to say your goodbyes before you head off to your honeymoon.
Perk #6: Would the hotel put up your names on the marquee?
Hotels that have a marquee will have no problems accommodating this request. They can change their marquee to read something that welcomes your guests (“Welcome Smith/Williams wedding guests”) or they can put up a congratulatory sign saying “Congrats to our newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Smith” etc.
But if you don’t negotiate this ahead of time, you’ll get a lot more resistance than if you had asked before you signed that contract.
Perk #7: Can you have a small pool party the night before the wedding?
For those of you that are truly skilled negotiators, ask if you can have a private pool party the day before the wedding. This is a great way to spend time together before the wedding.
Let the hotel know that you’d like to use the pool after hours and that it won’t affect their regular guests. Also, offer to clean up after so they don’t have to.
While it would be nice to get all the above services for free, you can expect to get 2-3 of them just by asking. You just have to ask at the right time.
Okay, So what’s the right time to ask?
Your best chance of getting any of these services for free is when you are shopping around for rates. Remember that you don’t have to call a dozen hotels to ask for group rates. Save yourself time by using our group hotel rates service.
It’s free and you’ll have group rates from multiple hotels in less time than it takes to make a phone call to one hotel.