Post # 1
I just started looking into this and realized I have a billion questions.
How did you choose a hotel to book? Did you book 2 hotels- a cheaper one and a nicer, more expensive one? Since I live in a smaller town, there isn’t much choice… there are a couple very cheap options which have so-so reviews, and the rest are what I’d consider pretty expensive… so I’m not sure. How much is reasonable to expect guests to spend on a hotel room if they choose to stay overnight? Do FI and I have to stay in the same hotel as our guests, if the place we want is pretty expensive?
How soon should I be calling hotels? The wedding checklists I have say I should be doing this stuff now, 3 months out, but I’ve also read that I should have an estimate about how many rooms I need, which I probably won’t have until I know who’s coming. Once we get the RSVPs in, should I call the out of town guests and ask if they plan to stay?
Also, do hotels require a downpayment from me to book the rooms? That last question I suppose I could call around for but I’m curious what the norm is.
Post # 3
@galloway111: How many OOT guests have you invited?
Post # 4
@asscherlover: The thing is… I’m not sure, because I’m not familiar with FI’s family, so I don’t know which ones are in town or out and neither does he. I’m sitting down with his mom next weekend (we live an hour and a half apart) to go over their family stuff. I’ll make sure I ask.
The thing is… I know there will be at least 10 OOT families invited, but I’m fairly certain at least half won’t come. I also have guests that live 2-3 hours away, so I don’t know if they’ll want to drive home or want a room. I just found out someone living 45 minutes away wants a hotel, so I don’t even know what to consider OOT anymore!
Post # 5
We just guesstimated- most places as long as you give them a fairly “hard” count a month out…. they don’t charge you for the excess rooms. I’m now wondering if the gas prices are going to affect how many people come out of town for ours. Almost ever guest on his side is OOT.
In our town there are only like 5 hotels. Four of them I would never even consider putting my purse on the ground at…. so that made our choice fairly easy. It’s pricier than i wished…. but, like I said- only choice we had.
Post # 6
We aren’t having a ton of out of town people at our wedding, but it about a forty five minute drive from most people – and almost everyone is staying over. Sometimes people just want an excuse to stay out all night (or plan on having a couple beverages and don’t want to drive)
our venue has a hotel that they own across the street from them, so we only went with that hotel – since we are having the wedding there, they have been great.
it’s a smaller hotel and not super fancy, but it is super nice, clean, and it isn’t as expensive as if we were having our wedding in boston proper
we booked a room block right away – but only the maximum number of rooms before we became responsible for anything – we have since added a ton more rooms (and I’ll be adding more on Monday!)
if you are able to block off rooms without being liable for them then you should definitely do it before you send out the invites – i say do one at a less expensive hotel and one at a higher end hotel – if the room block fills up, you can usually add rooms if there are still ones available at the hotel
Post # 7
@mrsc630: Yeah, in our town there are 8… but I’ve never stayed at a hotel in my own hometown so I have no personal experience. I’m a little worried that if I pick too expensive of a hotel, then some of our guests won’t come because they can’t afford that with gas too. But if I pick one that’s too cheap, our well-off guests might go find a better hotel on their own, which I’d feel sort of bad about, since I want to make it easier for our guests.
Post # 8
I’ve been working in the hotel industry for the last 9 years, for several different hotels, and hotel room blocks work almost the same everywhere.
You will need to talk to someone in the sales department (even smaller hotels, like Courtyard by Marriott, have them). A block of rooms usually starts with 10 rooms. They will give you a rate that is at a discount, and they base how good of a discount they can give you on lots of things; seasonality, expected occupancy, if there is another event in town that will bring in a lot of business, etc. If your wedding is the only thing going on in your small town that weekend, you have a good chance at being offered a pretty decent block room rate. They will usually give you a cut off date for reservations, where the remaining rooms in the block will be released back into their inventory if they haven’t been reserved by your wedding guests at no penalty to you. The only time you have to worry about paying for rooms is if they have what’s called an “attrition clause”. This means that they will charge you for a certain percentage of rooms that are not reserved in your block. That sounds scary, but remember that it never hurts to ask- if a hotel isn’t giving you that cut off date where they’ll drop the rooms back into inventory if they’re not reserved, ask for it. Tell them you’ll go elsewhere. Trust me, sales managers are allowed to negotiate. They all have bonuses that are based off business that they book, so if you have a lot of out of towners, they will be more likely to work with you.
It’s rare that there wouldn’t be that cut off date though.
Taking that into consideration, making a block of rooms is a nice thing that you do for your guests. If the rate is too high for some of your guests, they can go elsewhere. Or, you can get two blocks, one at a nicer hotel, and one at a cheaper hotel. Either way, if they are going to come to the wedding, they are going to make it happen, which means they are going to fork over the money for the hotel that they feel that they can afford. Reserving a block of rooms is nice, and very considerate, but not necessarily a deal-breaker for your guests if they decide that they can’t afford the hotel your block is at (especially since there are other options in your area).
Sorry to be so long-winded, but I know the whole concept of hotel room blocks can be very confusing! I hope that I helped! 🙂
Post # 9
@Miss Root: Thank you, it was very helpful 🙂 I’m going to call on Monday and see what they’ll offer.
Post # 10
I think @MissRoot covered the topic pretty good. The only thinkg I would add is that if you are going to have a lot of guests, then consider getting two hotels. One that is expensive and one that is not so. It gives people the option and that is always a nice touch. Just make sure you get a courtesy room block at each one. This is the kind of room block where you dont have to put up a deposit and you are not responsible for unused rooms. If you need more information on getting a courtesy room block, read this article: http://grouptravel.org/wedding/what-is-a-courtesy-room-block-do-i-need-one-for-wedding-guests/
Also, don;t feel obligated to stay at the hotel. But remember that if you block enough rooms, the hotel may give you a free room (in some cases, it will be a suite). So you might just have to stay there 🙂
Post # 11
@John Conner: , this post is over a year old. You have good information to share on a current post like this one:
I don't understand who I'm supposed to provide accommodations for.