Do You Have To Pay For Rooms Not Used In A Wedding Block?

Large church wedding with beautiful aisle

If you’re confused about the room block process, then you are not alone. There is a lot of misinformation about certain aspects of blocking rooms and we will clarify one of those issues in this article.

Many brides think that if you block hotel rooms, you’re going to be held financially responsible for the ones that guests don’t reserve. Many have read horror stories of how other brides had to pay thousands of dollars in fees for rooms not reserved.

In order to avoid a similar scenario, many couples just don’t bother to block hotel rooms

What they don’t realize is that most hotels offer two kinds of room blocks. One kind is where they are held responsible for unused rooms, and another kind where they are not.

Let’s start with the first kind.

Method # 1: Regular Room Block

If you were to walk into a hotel today and asked to block rooms for a wedding, you would receive a proposal that would require a deposit (10-50% of total rooms booked) and a signed contract.

Within this contract, there is going to be language that if a certain percentage of rooms is not reserved, you will be responsible for the unused rooms (In industry terms, this is referred to as an attrition clause). This is what is referred to as a regular or “closed” room block.

A closed hotel room block generally requires a contract that specifies:

  • How many rooms are being blocked,
  • The cut-off date (i.e. when the rooms will be released from the block.)
  • The attrition rate (“The difference between the actual number of sleeping rooms picked up and the ‘agreed to’ in the terms of the facility’s contract. Usually there is an allowable shortfall before damages are assessed.” – Convention Industry Council, APEX Industry Glossary) and the damages associated with it.

In most cases, this kind of room block is what gives brides nightmares. Many fear that they will not be able to fill up enough rooms. They fear having to pay the hotel hundreds (or thousands) of dollars in fees.

Fortunately, this is not the only method to blocking hotel rooms. There is the courtesy room block as well.

Method # 2: Courtesy Room Block

The other type of room block is referred to as an “open” or courtesy block of rooms. With this kind of room block, there are no contracts to sign and there are no clauses that state that you will be held responsible for unused rooms.

Hotels offer this kind of room block specifically to smaller groups like weddings and sports teams because they know that that the attendance is hard to predict. Rooms that are not reserved get released on the cut-of date.

The only downside is that many hotels don’t block more than 30 rooms a night with this kind of room block. However, if you have to block more  rooms, then consider getting a courtesy room block at more than one hotel (Read more about blocking hotel rooms at more than one hotel here).

We would recommend, in almost all cases, to use a courtesy room block. It is far more beneficial than having to fret over how many people have reserved rooms at the hotel.

How Do I Get A Courtesy Room Block?

You can start by filling out this form.

Within five minutes, hotels that fit your requirements will respond with group rates by email. Simply select the hotel that you like and contact them directly to book your room block. The whole process can take as little as a half hour.

That’s way faster than having to calls each hotel individually so get started today.

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