If out-of-town guests are attending your wedding, they’ll need a place to stay. Reserving a number of rooms in a hotel room block ensures that your guests will have a place to stay that is close to your ceremony and reception. This makes things like transportation to and from the big day more manageable. It also allows the chance to secure a discount for out of town guests–though this option is not available at all hotels.
Although many guests will wait until the last minute to book their accommodations, you’ll need to make sure to set up your hotel room block months ahead of the wedding date to guarantee that no big events—think conferences, tournaments, or even other weddings—will keep your guests from being able to book a room. Sound overwhelming? Most wedding planners can help you through this process. If you haven’t found your wedding planner yet don’t worry, we’re here to help you navigate reserving a hotel room block.
How To Choose A Hotel For A Room Block While Wedding Planning
Choosing the hotel for your guests depends on where the wedding is taking place, the price points, the available amenities, and how many guests will be staying at hotels. Ideally, you want your hotel to be close to both your ceremony and reception to save money on transportation. You also want at least two different hotel options for your guests–one that is higher end and one that is more affordable. This allows your guests to have options, which is especially important if you are having a destination wedding or you have a larger guest list.
You may also want to find out if there are any transportation services available for your guests, as some hotels may offer a shuttle service to and from the airport, which will be handy for guests who are flying into town.
6 Questions To Ask Your Hotel
Once you are ready to give the hotel a call to inquire about the hotel block, you will want to have a few questions ready. Be sure to get answers to these questions:
- What discount can be offered to the guests?
- Is there a penalty for not filling up the hotel block?
- Is there a percentage of hotel rooms guests will need to book?
- Does the hotel provide transportation to and from the airport?
- Is the hotel responsible for selling rooms that are not booked in the hotel block?
- Will we owe damages to the hotel if the entire block is not booked?
This will help gauge how many rooms to book in the beginning. We recommend booking a smaller number of rooms in the beginning. Unless they do not charge any penalties for not filling the room block—most hotels do—this will help you avoid unwanted fines or fees.
Terms To Look For When Booking A Hotel Room Block
After you have the questions above answered and receive the contract from the hotel, you should carefully examine it. It’s wise to be familiar the terminology you may find on the contract. Some words to keep an eye out for are:
Deposit Amount – The deposit amount is the price that the hotel requires to be paid at the time that the contract is signed.
Cut-Off – This is the last day that your guests can book a room in your reserved block before they are available to the public. Hotels will generally have a cut-off point before your wedding. It’s typically anywhere from 30-60 days before your special day.
Allowable Shrinkage Clause – This number is the percentage of rooms that are allowed to go unbooked. It’s normal for this percent to range from 10-20%.
Attrition Rate – This is one of the most important terms to keep in mind. The attrition rate is the number of rooms that must be filled to avoid paying a penalty fee. This is usually around 80-90%.
Mitigation/Resell Clause – One the cut-off date has arrived, the hotel is required to try and sell the unfilled rooms that you had booked
How To Negotiate A Hotel Room Block
Like many other things in life, one of the best pieces of advice for booking a hotel room block is to ask, ask, ask! Ask for discounts, upgrades, etc. Although you may not always get a discount, you may be able to get concessions such as free WiFi, parking passes, and maybe even room upgrades. A lot of these additions go overlooked because couples didn’t ask.
Letting Your Guests Know About The Hotel Room Block
Once everything is booked, let your guests know. The best way to do so is by using your wedding website. This way, they can find all of the information with the click of a button. If guests are coming from out of town, it’s also nice to include directions on how to get to the accommodations from the airport.
If you are not using a website and have yet to send out your invitations, you can also add the information to the invites. It’s important that you guide your guests through the booking process. Let them know that when booking the hotel, they should use a certain link or call the hotel directly and refer to the wedding by name. You’ll also want to remind them to book before the cut-off date if they want the discounted rate.
Now you know the basics for setting up a hotel room block! Not sure what else needs to happen before your wedding day? Check out our ultimate wedding planning guide to make sure you don’t miss a step.