An important consideration when planning a wedding is where your out-of-town guests will stay after the reception is over. A reality for many wedding couples is the necessity to become a logistical coordinator for family and friends. To avoid being a travel agent for your attendees, here are some tips on booking a block of rooms for your guests.
A hotel room block is a designated number of rooms set aside for a group, often at a special nightly rate. Usually there is a minimum of 10 rooms required and most hotels have a maximum allotment between 20-30 rooms.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
How many rooms do you need?
My recommendation is to ask your guests, but I truly understand it is difficult to predict and plans change. I've seen couples have success using a polling service such as survey monkey as a quick way to gauge their guest's accommodation needs. A good rule of thumb to figure out the number of rooms to request is to take your number of out-of-town guests and divide it by 2, as most guests will travel as couples or decide to share a room with friends.
When should you book your block of rooms?
Book as early as possible. Booking further in advance increases the chances the hotel will have availability over your requested dates and often, hotels can offer lower guest room rates further out.
Additionally, it allows you to share hotel information with your guests early on, so they can arrange their travel plans.
Does the hotel offer a Courtesy room block or Contracted room Block?
Make sure you know the difference! A courtesy room block is a block of rooms held for your group until the cut off date (typically 30 days prior to arrival). At the cutoff date, any unreserved rooms are released back to standard inventory and the contract signee has no further financial obligation.
*The group rooms are held as a "courtesy" but not guaranteed—meaning the hotel can sell out or offer rooms to another group, based on your pickup rate.
A Contracted room block guarantees the number of rooms you request. However, you are responsible for filling a percentage of rooms you put on hold (typically 70-90%). If your group does not fill the required number of rooms, you will be charged the difference between the pickup amount and the required number of rooms. A contracted block is the best way to guarantee the number of rooms you need will be available to your guests.
Price and Location:
Your guests may have different budgets for the celebration. In selecting a hotel, consider asking for different room types to be available within your room block (standard rooms and suites). This way, guests can choose what price point suits their needs best.
Location also plays a huge role—if the hotel is far from your venue, there may be guests who need to use rideshare services or other transportation options and costs can add up quickly for your attendees.
Remember to add the hotel booking link along with hotel details to your wedding website FAQ page.
Most hotels offer a code or link to make group reservations online. Adding the link and a FAQ section with answers to common hotel/travel questions to your wedding site is an easy way to give your guests information they need and keep you out of the middle!
Check in with your hotel partner and ask for updates.
Your contact at the hotel should provide a list of guests reserved within your group block. At contract signing, be sure to ask the hotel policy regarding the frequency the list can be shared with you.
Your group's rooming list is a great tool to keep up to date on who has made reservations and who has not. Also, if you plan to have welcome bags for your guests, this is a quick reference list.
My last piece of advice:
Your hotel sales manager is there to help throughout the planning and execution of your room block. Don't be afraid to ask questions, we've seen a lot of things through the years, and are happy to help. We know you have lots to consider when planning your special day and want to make this experience as efficient and pleasant as possible.
Carmen Zemke, Account Executive at Turf Valley Resort